I. noun — [ mass noun] 1.
‹historical› (in South Africa) a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.
‹historical› segregation on grounds other than race
• sexual apartheid.
Adopted as a slogan in the 1948 election by the successful Afrikaner National Party, apartheid extended and institutionalized existing racial segregation. Despite rioting and terrorism at home and isolation abroad from the 1960s onwards, the white regime maintained the apartheid system with only minor relaxation until February 1991.
– origin 1940s: from Afrikaans, literally ‘separateness’, from Dutch apart ‘separate’ + -heid (equivalent of -hood).