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White Rule

With the separate states and republics now subject to one law, the first segregationist legislation is introduced with the 1913 Natives' Land Act effectively restricting blacks from land ownership outside 'reserves'. Other racist laws include the requirement of the Indian and black population to register and pay for passes, restrictions on professions they can enter and separation in residential areas.

In 1914, the First World War exposes the divisions emerging in the Afrikaner population. Some want reconciliation with their former colonial masters. And former Boer fighters against the British, including the Defence Minister, Jan Smuts, now enter the war in support of the empire, as do the ANC. But that year, a National Party is formed representing a conservative Afrikaner attitude that both rejects British connections and demands black subjugation.

At the same time, black workers begin to recognise their potential and in 1918, a million black mine workers strike, and the following year sees the creation of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of South Africa. But the threat of black power or the 'black peril' helps the National Party come to power in the coalition government of 1924. The next two decades witnesses a see-sawing between extremism and moderation. In 1944, the ANC Youth League is formed. Its secretary is Nelson Mandela. But the decision of Smuts, now Prime Minister, to side with the British in another World War ends his political career and sees the election of the National Party in 1948. They will rule for the next five decades.