The Apartheid rulers had adopted a Herren Volk policy of white superiority. Therefore, they introduced the Mixed Marriages Act to combat miscegenation… And the Immorality Act was passed.
“Co-habitation” was a term the puritan Herren Volk used to describe sexual intercourse, between Whites and Non-Whites; it was strictly forbidden.
The penalty for breaking the law was extremely severe, landing the culprits in jail with heavy fines. It was reported that the courts were deluged the day before the law was introduced, by people all wanting to be married prior to the law becoming legal. White men outnumbered the hordes who sought to legalise their marriages.
As a girl raised in a convent, breaking the law was definitely not part of my character. But being in love was natural, and we railed against the ridiculous law that was unjust and unfair. In my memoir, I recount several instances in which our marriage became a crime. However, ways were found to overcome and subvert the law simply by marrying according to Islamic or other religious rites.
Bis and I were married by Sharia, that is Islamic tradition, which at the time was still legal, but the law was soon rescinded, and people who had been married according to their religious rites were forced into going to court to have their marriages legalised.
These two laws had far reaching effects for it prevented couples of mixed marriages from travelling together. I was obliged to apply for a passport in my maiden name, and had to leave the country before it became known to the authorities.
Europeans received their passports literally over the counter, and no awkward questions were asked. My political association, not to mention my illegal marriage would have warranted an investigation.
By contrast, Bis had difficulty obtaining a passport. Non-Europeans received theirs at the behest of the Afrikaner clerks. After having to answer many personal questions, and it took weeks and even months before they obtained the necessary travel documents.
We escaped successfully to England where our son was born. Our son’s premature birth in London rendered it essential that we return to South Africa. Doctors advised us the smog and pollution of London that would put his health at risk. With trepidation we took the risk of a return. To do that we had to again travel separately in order to spare me the aggravation of dealing with the petty officials on re-entering the country.