Apartheid Museum

Race Classification

Racial classification was the foundation of all apartheid laws. It placed individuals in one of four groups: 'native', 'coloured', 'Asian' or 'white'.

In order to illustrate everyday reality, visitors to the museum are arbitrarily classified as either white or non-white. Once classified, visitors are permitted entry to the museum only through the gate allocated to their race group. Identity documents were the main tool used to implement this racial divide, and many of these documents are on display in this exhibit.

Quick Facts

  • From 1950 South Africans were classified on the basis of their ‘race’.
  • People were classified into one of four groups: ‘native’, ‘coloured’, ‘Asian’ or ‘white’.
  • By 1966, 11 million people had been classified under the Population Registration Act of 1950.
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