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Immorality Act

The Immorality Act was one of the most controversial legislative acts of South African Apartheid. It attempted to forbid intermixing of couples of different race both in the area of marriage as well as casual sex.

Mixed marriages and the immorality act became the first major pieces of apartheid legislation. In 1949 mixed marriages were banned in South Africa. In 1950 the act was followed up with a ban on sexual relations between blacks and whites. One of the first people convicted of the immorality act was a Cape Dutch[?] Reformed[?] minister; he was caught having sex with a domestic worker in his garage. He was given a suspended sentence and the parishioners bulldozed the garage to the ground.

On the grounds of the Immorality Act, the police tracked down mixed couples suspected of being in relationships. Homes were invaded and doors were smashed down in the process. Mixed couples caught in bed were arrested. Underwear was used as forensic evidence in court. Most couples found guilty were sent to jail. Blacks were often given harsher sentences than whites.

In 1985 the Immorality Act and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act were both repealed.

See also: racism and miscegenation



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