1949 South Africa’s Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act commences, prohibiting marriage or a sexual relationship between White people and people of other races [1]

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On this day in history, the South African government passed the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (to go into effect as of July 8, 1949), making marriages between whites and non-whites illegal. Even though between 1946 and the enactment of this law, only 75 mixed marriages had been recorded, compared with some 28,000 white marriages, the government felt the possibility was a sufficient threat and affront to legislate against it. In 1950 the law was amended to ban even sexual relations between white and black South Africans.

To facilitate enforcement, the Population Registration Act of 1950 required South Africans to register as members of one of four racial groups as set out in the Population Registration Act of 1950. The four groups were White, Coloured, Indian and Black. Subsequent to the passing of this legislation, a number of people were arrested and charged for breaking its provisions.

The law also nullified interracial marriages of South Africans that occurred outside of the country.  

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