Social Stratification and Inequality Castes and Socializing One’s caste also determines social contact. Friendships, and relationships in general, are rare among members of different castes. They neither live nor work near each other and rarely have any contact with one another. South Africa’s Apartheid System The apartheid system of South Africa is another example of a caste system. The term apartheid refers to the total separation of the races. White Europeans colonized South Africa starting in the seventeenth century, and the area remained part of the British Empire until its independence in 1961. The policy of apartheid, introduced in 1948, relegated black people to a caste far below that of whites. Black people could not vote, receive an education, or mix with whites in any way. The work of Nelson Mandela and others who fought for black equality have made apartheid illegal in South Africa, but, like the caste system in India, some prejudice and discrimination remain.
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