Nelson Mandela was tried for treason by the white South African government. He and seven other leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for daring to oppose the apartheidregime in his country. He spent the next 28 years in South Africa's most dreaded prison, Robben Island. Apartheid 1. Apartheid was the name of a system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa where the white European minority discriminated the native black majority. 2. The blacks were forbidden from living in white areas. They could work in white areas only if they had a permit. 3. Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets, were all separate for the whites and blacks. This was called segregation. 4. They could not even visit the churches where the whites worshipped. 5. Blacks could not form associations or protest against the terrible treatment.