Immorality Act

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The Immorality Act , Act No. 2/1927 ( Afrikaans : Ontugwet , German as: "Unsittlichkeitsgesetz") was a law for the implementation of South African apartheid policy .

In 1927 the Immorality Act was passed, which prohibited sexual relations between whites and blacks . After the National Party's election victory in 1948, parliament passed stricter laws on racial segregation . Mixed marriages were banned in South Africa in 1949 by the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act .

In 1950, a law supplementing the Immorality Act ( Immorality Amendment Act No. 21 ) made sexual intercourse between whites and relatives of all other non-white persons, who had been determined by the Population Registration Act since 1950 , a criminal offense. In 1957, the regulation was tightened with a new law, the Immorality Act No. 23 . Now the maximum sentence was seven years and even the attempt to break the law was made a criminal offense.

Because of the Immorality Act felt the police mixed couples under suspicion were to be in a marriage-like relationship. The privacy was also not respected, as the police broke into houses to find the couples in appropriate situations. Underwear was also used as forensic evidence. Most convicted couples served prison terms, with blacks often being punished more severely than whites. One of the first convicts was a Cape Dutch Reformed Church pastor who was found having sex with a domestic worker and received a suspended sentence. By 1960, about 4,000 people had been sentenced to prison terms under the Immorality Act.

In 1985, the Immorality Act was changed by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, and in 1985 by President Pieter Willem Botha, so that sexual intercourse between whites and non-whites was no longer a criminal offense.


  • Albrecht Hagemann: Small history of South Africa. CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51101-5 , p. 74.
  • Martin Pabst: South Africa. , 2nd, completely revised and expanded edition, CH Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57369-9 , p. 85.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Text of the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1985 at (English)