Apartheid was a system of legal racial segregation instituted by the National Party of South Africa in 1948. The word 'apartheid' itself is Afrikaans for 'apartness'.
Under apartheid, the population of South Africa was classified into four distinct racial groups: white, black, colored, and Indian. The Group Areas Act of 1950 legalized the forced resettlement of citizens based on their racial group to segregated 'group areas' across the country.
The education system, medical care, and public services were also segregated with non-white groups often receiving vastly inferior services. Non-whites were not allowed to vote in public elections. Furthermore, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 and the Immorality act of 1950 made interracial marriage and sexual relations illegal.