The Effects of Racial Discrimination in South Africa in Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Tell Freedom

The Effects of Racial Discrimination in South Africa in Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Tell Freedom


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This project is on “The Effects of Racial Discrimination by the Whites, towards the Black South Africans in South Africa in Sizwe Bansi is Dead by Athol Fugard and Tell Freedom by Peter Abrahams”. The project also had shown the various effects of apartheid regime in South Africa which affected the lives of the non-whites in South Africa. According to the above mentioned text books. The Blacks were not given equal rights like the whites and their movements were restricted. The blacks were made to suffer and some of them were homeless. Recommendations were made on how to abolish the racial discrimination through given the blacks equal rights like the whites. They should be valued as important just like the whites. Further recommendation made was that the blacks should not be neglected, abused and abandoned but they should be treated with equality, love, respect and much attention should be given to them.

The Effects of Racial Discrimination in South Africa in Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Tell Freedom



1.1       Background to the Study

It is generally known and observed that the whites that colonized South Africa treated the South African Blacks with unfairness in term of equal rights and opportunities. The text books Sizwe Bansi Is Dead by Athol Fugard and Tell Freedom by Peter Abrahams clearly identified the effects of racial discrimination by the whites towards the black South African during the Apartheid era. Largely, the text Sizwe Bansi Is Dead narrates the story of three ordinary characters, a former factory worker turned to photographer who narrated the story that forms the plot of the text. Robert Zwelinzima changed his identity using the picture of a dead man Sizwe Bansi, in order to be able to live in Port Elizabeth and work, and Bantu, the friend, whose insight and foresight facilitated the change of identity of Robert Zwelinzima.

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It is through the daily happening in the lives of these three characters that Athol Fugard uses revealed the wretched life of the South African Blacks during colonialism that is the lot of every black man in South Africa under the apartheid system. The whites otherwise called or known as the oppressors comprises the white over-lord, enjoyed the good things of life, have liberty and are classed as first class citizens. Their movements were not restricted and they have the monopoly of the leadership of the country. The latter, on the other hand were the blacks, the wretched of the earth, the down trodden who must carry their works and residential permits wherever they go, failure to do so could mean death.

Both text books, explained exactly what the blacks South Africans were passing threw in South Africa under or during apartheid era. Therefore, literature becomes a means of interpreting Africa both to her own people and the outside world. The South African writers, because of their country’s complicated racial and political conditions have an unusual tense and confused situation to deal with, and he therefore has a special obligation to deal with it responsibility.

The Effects of Racial Discrimination in South Africa in Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Tell Freedom

Again, because South African literature is so closely linked to her historical background and political system, it might be of some value to give a brief review of her history. South Africa main problem has always been the relations between the different groups that live in the country. In 1652, the first whites arrived in South Africa, when the Dutch East Indian company decided to establish a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope. Jan van Reinbeck’s expedition was not considered a move towards colonization; but in 1657, some men were allowed to settle as free burger class and they  became the first colonists. The establishment of a free burger class and the introduction of slave trade led to an expansion of frontier which gives ways or rooms for colonialism.


South Africa was colonized by the whites who first arrived there as settlers. These settlers were predominantly farmers and traders. These farmers and traders were encouraged to stay in South Africa because the weather condition favoured them and their farming activities grew rapidly or quickly as the soil was equally fertile later on the British Government took over the administration of the country and ruled it as part of British Empire.

However, Apartheid became extended in South African constitution as law when the National party came into power in 1948 with Dr. Nylon as the prime minister. Some of the apartheid laws which came into operation were as follows. The 1949 prohibition of mixed marriage act, 1950 immortality amendment act, and grouped area act 1950 Barter authority act, separate registration act, extension of university education act, 1958.

Promotion of Bartu, self Government act. Racial Discrimination. The blacks were also moved to concentration camp, ghettos swamps and others out of the world and dirty government. The policy off delegation made it impossible for the whites to lice and exists in the same areas or marries one another. The whites were protected by law to enjoy the best enemy. Thing while the blacks had nuking except poverty menial jobs, poor accommodation, fear and death. Adding to this point that the blacks were not allowed to own land and property even in their fathers land they had no education, medical facilities, freedom of speech and security.

The above injustice exploration and general abuse led to violence. The few white settlers who were in Government used the natural resources in South Africa during apartheid era to fight and oppressed the blacks. They turned the police after them, to deal with them as if they were not human beings, in response, the South African blacks revolted through the violence no matter how insignificant, they also protested through this literacy works to arrest the sympathy of the outside world. The later formed political groups like the ANC to arrest their rights and fight for their freedom. Many of these fighters were arrested and imprisoned or killed but this did not deter them from fighting on.

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