Families and Apartheid

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					Families and Apartheid
Note: The following are a number of situations excerpted from South African
newspapers and reports from human rights organizations during Apartheid.

1. Mr. and Mrs. M. and their three children were typical of families forced apart
   by Apartheid. Although they each had a permit, Mr. M. worked in the African
   township of Alexandra; Mrs. M. in Johannesburg. This meant they couldn’t
   live together in another township. Because Mr. M. had not lived in Alexandra
   for 15 continuous years, he did not qualify for a house. He awaited allocation
   of a bed in a males-only hostel. Mrs. M. was told to go to a hostel and that the
   children must be sent away. But the only place that the children could be sent
   was to their assigned homeland—where they had never been and where they
   had no relatives.

2. Mrs. Nxumalo was born in Alexandra and lived there all her life. So had her
   children, who all had certificates proving their place of birth. A few years
   before, Mrs. Nxumalo divorced her husband and moved with her children to
   her brother’s house—but she was not listed on his housing permit. With
   difficulty, she got a new permit to live in Alexandra. However, it only allowed
   her to stay as long as she was working for her current employer and it didn’t
   list her children. She was told to move into a hostel and to send her children
   to the homelands.

3. Mrs. Opsie had no husband and lived with her only son who had turned 16.
   She’d been told to go to a women’s hostel and to put her son in a men’s
   hostel.

4. African women who had live-in jobs as servants in towns near Johannesburg
   were made to sign pledges. The pledges stated that servants, for as long as
   they worked for whites, understood they will lose their jobs if children or
   husbands joined them on their employer’s premises. Whites also had to sign
   documents promising to fire any African women who brought children or
   husbands onto the premises. This of course meant that women who needed
   jobs as servants could never live with their families.
   The pledges had to be signed by all South African women from homelands
   who were permitted to work in the Johannesburg area on a 12-month
   contract.

5. A crippled South African factory worker in Wellington, Mr. Harlem Msini, was
   told that his wife and four year-old child could not continue to live with him
   because his wife had been convicted and fined 30 rand (about $30) for being
   in an area illegally. Since Mrs. Msini had left the town where she was born,
   Dordrecht, giving up her right to return, and because she had been ordered
   out of the area where her husband lived, she was not legally entitled to live
   anywhere. The B lack Sash Society, which was set up to aid victims of
   Apartheid, took her situation all the way up to the Deputy Minister of Bantu
   Affairs, Dr. Koornhof. He rejected all appeals, saying that he couldn’t make
   any exceptions to the law, as that would have opened the door to others. “If
   all Bantu men are freely allowed to marry women who do not qualify,” Dr.
   Koornhof said at the time, ”and are allowed to enter the territory, the number
   of Bantu will more than double.” Later, Mrs. Msini was given a temporary
   permit to live in Dordrecht, where she could live with her children but not her
   husband.

6. Mrs. Victoria Madi, 53, was born in the neighboring country of Swaziland, but
   lived in South Africa for 33 years. The year after arriving in South Africa she
   married and had five children—all born in South Africa. When her husband
   died, she was told she no longer qualified to stay in the urban area of
   Johannesburg and must return to the country of her birth, Swaziland. Mrs.
   Madi worked in Johannesburg, all of her children lived in Johannesburg,
   where two were still in school. She had not been to Swaziland in 30 years and
   no longer knew anyone there.

				
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