What is a constitution?
The constitution is the supreme law of the country. It writes down the rights and responsibilities of the citizens, the powers of the government and also dictates how the government should function. In this chapter we will learn how Indian constitution was made and what its fundamental values are.
Activity Textbook Page 42
What would have happened in South Africa if the black majority had decided to take revenge on the Whites for all their oppression and exploitation?
In South Africa, the Whites used to oppress and exploit the Black majority. Yet, when South Africa formed a new democratic government, they chose not to take revenge on the Whites. If they had decided to take revenge, it would have led to a lot of violence and bloodshed. The South African leaders made sure that this did not happen. Instead, they decided to forgive the Whites and adopted a policy of non-violence. The constitution that they drafted for their country is based on the principles of social justice, human rights and equality of all races.
Exam Oriented Questions and Answers
1. Where was Nelson Mandela kept in prison?
Answer: Robben Island
2. Who was the first President of the newly formed democracy in South Africa?
Nelson Mandela was the first president of the newly formed democracy in South Africa.
3. In which year was the African National Congress formed?
The African National Congress was formed in 1912.
4. How many years did Nelson Mandela spend in prison?
Nelson Mandela spent 28 years in prison.
5. Why did the Whites sentence Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment?
The Whites sentenced Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment because he dared to oppose the apartheid regime in South Africa.
6. The Whites and the Blacks made many compromises. Mention some of them.
The Whites agreed to the principle of majority rule. They also agreed to the one person one vote policy. The Blacks agreed that the majority rule would not be absolute.
7. Name the umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation.
The African National Congress was the umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation.
8. Do all the countries have a constitution? Are they all democratic?
All the countries have a constitution. Just because a country has a constitution, it does not have to be democratic. However, all countries that are democratic will certainly have a constitution.
9. What is apartheid?
The term apartheid is used to refer to the social discrimination system unique to South Africa. It was imposed by the White European colonialists on the native Black population of South Africa. The system of Apartheid divided people on the basis of their skin colour. The native South Africans had black skin colour. They were called the Blacks. Although South Africa was their country, the White colonialists forbade them from living in White areas unless they had a permit. There were separate buses, trains, hotels, hospitals, schools, cinema halls and public toilets for the Whites and the Blacks. Although the Blacks were very badly treated by the Whites, they could not form associations to protect their interests or hold protests.
9. The apartheid system oppressed the Blacks. Explain
The apartheid system forbade the Blacks from living in White areas. In order to work in White areas they needed a permit despite the fact that South Africa was their country. There were separate buses, trains, schools, cinema halls, hotels, hospitals and public toilets for the Whites and the Blacks. They were even forbidden from visiting churches where the Whites worshipped. In addition, the White colonialists made sure that the Blacks could not form associations or protest against the inhuman treatment they received.
10. Both the Whites and the Blacks made some compromises. What were they?
The Whites and the Blacks were going to live together as equals in the newly formed democratic South Africa. However, it was not easy for them to trust each other. The Blacks wanted substantial social and economic rights. The Whites were afraid that the Blacks would seize their property and they didn’t want that to happen. In the end both parties agreed to make some compromises. The Whites agreed to the principle of majority rule. They also agreed to the one person one vote policy. The Blacks agreed that the majority rule would not be absolute. They also agreed that they would not seize the property of the Whites.