Apartheid South Africa

Population Registration Act

The population Registration Act: This law was passed in 1950, to define in no uncertain terms who belonged to a particular race. Race was defined by physical appearance.

If the authorities had doubt as to the color of a persons skin, they would resort to a "pencil in hair test". A pencil was pushed in the hair, and if it remained in the persons hair without dropping, it signified frizzy hair. The person would then be classified as colored. If the pencil dropped out the person would be classified as white.

Many decisions were wrong, resulting in families being split and or evicted for living in the wrong area. In some cases hundreds of colored families were reclassified as white and in a few cases Afrikaners were reclassified as colored.

Staunch Afrikaner parents, abandoned children with frizzy hair and or children with dark skin. They were regarded as outcasts by the biological Afrikaner parents. Once the law was implemented all citizens were issued with identity documents in which the race of a person was clearly marked.








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