Children Under Apartheid
by Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund
Washington, DC, United States
The Fact Sheet provides a basic definition of apartheid and how it operates, including racial employment and land segregation, with forced removals of Blacks from areas designated as "white-only" areas. Black areas lack resources, and men are forced to be migrant laborers. Half of Black children in the rural areas die before the age of five; the death rate of children under the age of one is 31 times higher for Blacks than for whites. One-third of Black children under the age of 14 have serious nutritional deficiencies. Health services for Blacks are entirely inadequate; educational resources are provided for white but not black children. Eighty percent of Black secondary school teachers had themselves never received the equivalent of a high school diploma. Protests are ruthlessly crushed, as in 1976 when students in Soweto protested against the government's insistence on using both English and Afrikaans as languages for teaching. Police responded to the students' peaceful protests by killing over 600 children, and wounding and jailing thousands more. In 1985, at least 209 children were killed through indiscriminate use of teargas, birdshot, metal-tipped whips, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. In some cases, the whole school population was dragged into police vans, police opened fire on crowds of schoolchildren, or children were viciously beaten. The Detainees Parents Support Committee (DPSC) estimates that during the first five months of current State of Emergency, 8,000 children under 18 have been detained, at a rate of 250 per week, and reports numerous allegations of their having been brutalized and tortured in custody. About 4,000 of these children are believed to be still in detention or are missing; parents are almost never informed of their child's detention or where he or she is being held. The South African government has made it illegal for any person to call for the release of detained children and prohibits acts of solidarity including the display of 'Free the Children' bumper stickers and t-shirts.
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the Africa Policy Information Center).
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers