Apartheid South Africa

Mixed Marriages and The Immorality Act

In 1949 mixed marriages were banned and the immorality act became the first major piece of apartheid legislation. (Meaning of mixed marriage - white South Africans by law could no marry blacks or any of the other ethnic groups in South Africa).

Although many members of the official UP Opposition was against the law, none of them opposed the Bill. Lone "Natives" representative Sam Khan strongly objected. He described the Bill as "the immoral offspring of an illicit union between racial superstition and biological ignorance". He added that there was nothing biologically inferior or evil about the offspring of mixed marriages, but that the evil lay in the social pattern that doomed the couple and there offspring to an inferior status that will deprive them of privileges that should be the inherent right of every citizen in the country. His plea was in vain.

In 1950 the ban on the "mixed" marriages was followed by an amendment to the immorality Act, passed in 1927 by Barry Hertzog's Pact Government to ban extra marital sexual relations between white and black South Africans. Marriage between white and other ethnic groups was now a criminal offence.

The police tracked down mixed couples suspected of having a relationship. Homes were invaded and doors were smashed down in the process. Mixed couples caught in bed, were arrested. Underwear was used as forensic evidence in court. Most couples found guilty were sent to jail. Blacks were often given harsher sentences.

One of the first people convicted of the immorality act was a Cape Dutch reformed minister. He was given a suspended sentence and the parishioners bulldozed the garage to the ground.

When white males seeking black female they had to cross the border into neighboring Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho or Namibia to satisfy their needs.

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