Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

pp 120-123


  • Garth StevensAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand Email author 


Apartheid was the political system of racial segregation that was practiced in South Africa from 1948 until 1994. It was not only an institutionalized form of racism but also a legalized system of white supremacy and white-minority rule that was completely entrenched within the country’s judicial, legislative, and parliamentary processes. While being implemented by successive white National Party governments during this period, many of these laws were relaxed and/or repealed by the early 1990s, due to decades of national and international anti-apartheid resistances and the ongoing political negotiations during South Africa’s transition to a fully enfranchised democracy. However, the first democratic election in 1994 is widely accepted as the formal demise of apartheid as a political system in South Africa, as it represents the first time a democratic electoral process was held in the country in which all of its citizens had the constitutional right to vote. As a ...

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