Cape Town, South Africa, 1955.
These South African signs are examples of what was known as Petty Apartheid. South Africa’s Apartheid — an Afrikaans word meaning “apart-hood” — was implemented by the National Party after winning the country’s 1948 general election. Petty Apartheid was the range of laws implemented by the National Party that placed detailed restrictions on the behaviour of the different races in the country.
While Grand Apartheid was responsible for demarcating separate Homelands within South Africa, Petty Apartheid began with the 1949 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages. This was followed by 1950’s Immorality Amendment, which outlawed “unlawful racial intercourse” or “any immoral or indecent act” between the races.
The core of the Apartheid system was the division of people into racial groups using a complex and trivial series of tests. The result was the classification of the population into one of four groups: White, Black, Indian and Colored, with Colored and Indian groups further subdivided.