© Ian Berry, 1969, South Africa

A young Black nanny, scarcely more than a child herself, looks after a baby girl for a white family.

In post-World War II South Africa the ruling National Party developed a system of government that discriminated against Black, Coloured* and Asian people to protect the rights and privileges of the white minority. This system of segregation and prejudice was called apartheid, a word translated from Afrikaans meaning ‘apartness’.

The National Party, led by DF Malan, came to power in South Africa in 1948. Previous governments had already implemented segregationist policies, however the National Party now set out to enshrine this in law. Different racial groups were forced to live separately and unequally under a regime of political, legal, and economic discrimination.

The Population Registration Act (1950) grouped all South Africans into three racial categories: Bantu (Black African), white, or Coloured*. The Group Areas Act (1950) started the physical separation between groups, establishing racial areas known as ‘Homelands’. Such laws were an early and clear statement of intent by the regime.

*Terminology used:
Under the apartheid regime, ‘Coloured’ was a term used for someone who was not considered Black African or white under South African law. It is an outdated term in the UK today. (source)

I wonder when terms like ‘Black’ and ‘White’ will be outdated terms for categorizing human beings. What ‘genius’ came up with that B&W idea? In my opinion, ‘Coloured’ would be the perfect term for every single human being - who wants to be colorless anyways?

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© Ian Berry, Mar. 21, 1960, Sharpeville / South Africa

Crowds fleeing as police open fire on peaceful protestors, killing at least 69 and injuring 180 people (Sharpeville Massacre)

The African National Congress (ANC), formed in 1912, was one of many opposition groups, including the South African Coloured People’s Organisation (SACPO), the Inkatha National Cultural Liberation Movement (INCLM) and the United Democratic Front (UDF). After becoming impatient with peaceful protests against the apartheid regime, several ANC members broke away to form the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959.

On 21 March 1960 the PAC organized a protest in Sharpeville, a town south of Johannesburg. The aim was to highlight the injustices of the Pass Laws, which required Black Africans to carry a pass book at all times that contained personal and employment information. The pass book was seen as a symbol of apartheid. Despite the non-violent nature of the protest it was brutally suppressed by armed police. Eyewitness accounts tell of the inhumane way the crowd was sprayed with gunfire without warning. At least 69 people were killed and over 180 were injured.

Sharpeville was just one of many human rights abuses in apartheid South Africa. It happened to be recorded by Ian Berry, the only photojournalist present on the day. His photographs were later used in the trial proving the victims’ innocence. (source)

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© Ian Berry, 1994, South Africa

Supporters climb to every vantage point whilst awaiting the arrival of Nelson Mandela in a Natal township.

In post-war South Africa the government gradually developed a policy to retain the rights and privileges of the white minority – apartheid. Although other societies experienced racial prejudices, South Africa was the only government to institutionalise and regulate segregation, often producing bizarre situations. The notion of this duty to ‘live apart’ whilst occupying the same space is documented in Ian Berry’s photographs. (read more)

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