Apartheid (meaning separateness in Afrikaans*) was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1990.
The new system was a way for the white Afrikaner National Party to ensure their control over both South Africa's economy and social structure. The key was white dominance of blacks and colored (mixed descent) people. Apartheid was born as a political tactic but grew to involve violence and extreme strife.
The apartheid laws were officially enacted in 1948, four years before the events told in A Beautiful Place to Die. Racial discrimination became not simply a mechanism engrained in local customs, but part and parcel of the government. That is, apartheid race laws tainted every aspect of people's lives, holding sway over who one could marry, work for, live with, or even be friends with. The division by the government's Department of Home Affairs into white, black and colored (...