elaina mother to mother - History 161 04 May 2015 Mother to...

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History 161 04 May 2015 Mother to Mother Essay Mother to Mother by Sindiwe Magona tells the story of an oppressed society in South Africa living under the twisted reign of an apartheid system. Apartheid was a system of laws introduced in 1948 by the National Party Government and lasted until the party’s defeat in 1994. The laws were “designed to guarantee permanent white domination” by passing countless laws and restrictions on the activities of colored peoples. The National Party government was racially constructed, resulting in unequal treatment and insufficient opportunities for all non-whites (Shillington 410). As a consequence of decades of oppression, numerous acts of racial violence occurred throughout South Africa. The unfair racist system led many to partake in dehumanizing behavior during their fight for justice. In Mother to Mother , Magona tells the story of apartheid through the narrator, Mandisa, in the form of a letter to the mother of a recently murdered white university student; Mandisa’s twenty-year-old son, Mxolisi, is accused of committing the murder. By explaining the hardships brought on by the oppressing system of government, Mandisa explains what drove her son to murder a white woman. To help explain her son’s actions, Mandisa tells the story of her childhood during the pre- Group Area Acts era and post. The Group Areas Act of 1950 forces Mandisa’s family relocate to Guguletu, a densely populated slum housing only non-whites. To reinforce the Group Areas Act, The National Party Government conducted a massive forced relocation of the colored population to their confined reserve areas. In the novel, Mandisa explains the nature of forced relocation, stating it was, “a violent scattering of black people, a dispersal of the governments DiDonato 1
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making. So great was the upheaval, more than three decades later, my people are still reeling from it” (Magona 48). The methods used by the National Party Government to move colored peoples left the oppressed population in a state of disarray and confusion, furthering their hatreds towards the white man. Due to the restrictions set by the Group Area Acts, Mxolisi lives in the unsafe, congested, sorrowful conditions of Guguletu from the day he is born. He never knew a life of owning your own property far away from a segregated slum. The restrictions set by the
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