Apartheid was the official government policy of South Africa’s Nationalist

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Dear Tammye,

Too many typos for an A. Sometimes the text does not make sense (?).

In the identity paragraph, could you pls mention the official SA coat of arms with the Sun khoi sentence, and that SA has 11 official languages today (you coul dthus explain wht ais the rainbow nation. You could also mention what negative /positive effects the reconciliation process lead to and what it was.

Please try to improve it, otherwise it is B-C.

Also it is too normative for an academic text ( need to, should etc.).

The New South Africa

Across the Great Divide


Tammye Kady

|May 9,2005

Multiculturalism in Europe and North America

The question of how Multiculturalism will work in most of today's societies is often debated in scholarly circles. The ever-changing face of regional and national territories are demanding new policies be structured to reflect the face of its‘ inhabitants. Forced migration due to wars, political, racial or socioeconomic injustice, and even the basic pursuit of a better life are forcing governments to structure mandates that will create a fair chance for all it’s citizens. But its greatest task is to come. Will multiculturalism ever work in areas that have faced great oppression and in some cases genocide of whole ethnic groups?

In this paper I will examine one of the greatest atrocities of all, apartheid in South Africa. I will look at the history, the criticism, the transition, the challenges and the positive actions that have taken place. I will also explore the problems of an antiquated education system and the dismal corporate work structure trying to re-form its environment to include all cultural and ethnic entities. Have things changed?
The History
Apartheid was the official government policy of South Africa’s Nationalist regime from 1948 until 1994. It started out as a campaign slogan for the Nationalist party and simply meant “apartness.” Apartheid was a rallying cry for the “preservation” of the Afrikaners culture, which they say was under attack. However after the National party gained power it became sunanamous with a brutal form of racial oppression. The apartheid system was based on four principals. First the population was composed of four racial groups; white, coloured, indian, and African. Second, whites were the civilized race and entitled to absolute political control of the state. Third, white interests were to prevail over those of other races and the state was not obligated to provide for non-whites. Fourth, the white racial group was a single nation, Africans however, belonged to many nation-tribes and were supposed to remain “tribal.”

The primary objective of apartheid was to build of the older segregation laws and achieve the “apartness” that the name implies. In addition to removing any assemblage of representation and franchise Africans had the regime set out to physically isolate Africans. The apartheid system of reserves was created in 1951 and eventual there would be ten of these African “homelands.” The apartheid regime prohibited Africans from living in white areas without work permits and in one case (the first rather then last), in 1955 Sophiatown, a long established black township, was forcibly relocated so whites could move into the area; the new white town was named Triomf (Triumph). Africans were to live in their own “independent” homelands and come as migrant wage laborers into white areas, work for very little and when their services were no longer required, leave.

Apartheid was supported and implemented by numerous acts of legislation. One of the earliest was the Population Registration Act of 1950, which required every person to have a racial category. Every person was a member of not only a “race” but a nation. Whites were South Africans, but blacks could be Zulu, Xhosa, or a member of a number of other African “nations.” The Group Areas Act, passed that same year, gave effect to these categories by creating racial zoning. Only members of a certain race were allowed to live in their zone. These racial zones were redrawn to force Africans out of “white areas.” A third piece of legislation that was a major part of apartheid was the 1971 Bantu Homelands Constitution Act which gave the government the power to grant independence to the homelands created in 1951. With the “independence” of the homelands the Nationalist regime could claim it was supporting African self determination, as well as absolve themselves of much responsibility for conditions in the homelands.
The Critisim
From 1952 onward there was vocal criticism of apartheid and the Nationalist government. Starting in 1952 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning apartheid every year. In 1960 the British Prime Minister Macmillan warned that Britain would not support South Africa if they resisted ? African nationalism. By 1973 the UN General Assembly had declared apartheid a crime against humanity. Finally in 1977 the Security Council established a mandatory arms embargo on South Africa, the first time a member state was sanctioned in that way. However, this was more symbolic then anything else, and no large economic institutions were opposed to apartheid. Britons primary concern in Southern Africa was Rhodesia, the US was focused of Southeast Asia. Western economic and defense interests were still attracted to South Africa. In the early 1970s American companies saw 15% returns on investment. It was not until after 1978 that any resistance to apartheid would have teeth.
The Transition
South Africa is a nation in transition. Following the end of apartheid in 1994 new challenges face leaders and peoples of the nation being created today. The people of South Africa must reconcile the past wounds of apartheid, but also form an effective government. They must learn a delicate balance between reconciliation and moving forward. However, this will not be an easy process and many factors stand in their way.
The Challenges
One of the challenges facing South Africa is that of identity. Mamphela Ramphele writes of a split identity in South Africa. People don’t consider them selves South Africans above all else, rather they have often competing allegiances. Ramphele describes as one of the many splits that between civic republican and liberal. In the liberal vision individual rights are inherent and are guaranteed with minimal commitment to the community. Civic republicans consider citizenship an obligation, with commitment to the community and loyalty to “your own” above all else.

In the new South Africa equality under the law may exist on paper, but all do not share its benefits. Most blacks are still poor and isolated in overcrowded townships with few, and low quality, services. To these people the benefits of liberal society take a back seat to traditional allegiances.

The identity splits of South Africa go deeper still. With in groups that used to be considered homogeneous under apartheid there are splits. With in the ANC and other “solidarity” groups there are splits of loyalty. The members of the ANC who were in exile value loyalty and obedience to those in power more than the accountability. The militants lean towards authoritarianism and away from dialogue and compromise. Further more the members of the mass democratic movements, in theory, embraces democratic principals.

These leaders need to reconcile their differences, both in terms of the competing theories of liberal and republican citizenship, and in terms of political culture. The ANC has been known to shelter it’s own ?? own what from prosecution, this protectionism must stop. The interests of more narrow groups must be placed in the context of the greater common good. South Africans need to recognize the fault lines in their society. They need to embrace new ideals and place accountability above narrow loyalty. Also civic education needs to be placed on the curriculum. South Africa must look with a critical eye at its past and embrace it’s diversity.

Fractured identities are not the only problem that faces South Africa today. Nattrass and Seekings write of South Africa’s ugly economic legacy left over from apartheid. In the new South Africa race is no longer an absolute indicator of income. The nation is split between the interracial upper-class and everyone else; between the urban middle class and the rural black poor and unemployed. Between 1991 and 1996 the percentage of blacks in the highest income bracket went from 9% to 22%. The black upper class is just as rich as the white, and growing. The cross racial divide is closing, but the in racial divide is increasing (enough so to make total inequity increase).

This chasm in wealth is influenced by two primary factors: education and employment. The majority of industrial, commercial, manufacturing and other skilled and semi-skilled are solidly in the middle class. Professionals and technicians are in the upper and middle classes. The majority of the poor are unemployed, to a much greater degree than in countries of similar development (like Brazil).

Much the problem with unemployment is related to labor policy in South Africa. Sharp increases in the wages of the bottom income earners relative to the top (145% increase as compared to 11%) has causes companies to lay people off. Large unions are able to set wages in negotiations with employers that apply to other parts of the industry and apply to smaller firms and cause loss of jobs. Real wages rose at 2.5% per year and employment fell at 2.5% in the 1990s. Nattrass and Seekings claim that job creation is the solution, with 3.8 million low wage jobs

reducing the number of poverty by 43% (assuming no change in existing wages). Substantial labor market reform is needed to push the economy into a labor intensive production mode. Nattrass and Seekings also cite how education is increasingly linked to income. Men get an 8% increase in income per year of primary school, 16%per year of secondary education, and 29% per year of tertiary education. The importance of education, along with the challenges facing education, in South Africa are further out lined by Asmal and James (year of publishing). The legacy of apartheid is

that much of the population is uneducated, and many more are miseducated. Although the Constitution of 1996 section 29 established a fundamental right to education this is not a reality for most South Africans.

Administration of education is poor. A full 89% of the education budget goes to teacher salaries, with a less then adequate 11% for books, materials, programs, technology, infrastructure and maintenance. The new government has significantly increased funding to new schools, however wealthier “semi-private” schools can afford to pay teachers so much more that the best teachers go to these primarily upper class (and white) schools. The teachers that are left are often not qualified, with 36-40% failing to meet three year territory tertiary education standards. The government has set about creating standards of teaching and a qualification program under the Employment of Educators Act of 1998.

Although progress is being made to improve education there is still much to

be done. Greater diversity is needed in the educational curriculum of all grade levels. Math and science are especially weak in South Africa, making the population ill equipped to compete in the global market. Also more students need to graduate, and within a “normal time period” with higher quality degrees. Part of this is more graduate level programs. Also an effort needs to be made to increase civic participation in schools; churches, community groups, NGOs, and volunteer

groups need to be encouraged to be active in promoting education.

It is not much of stretch to say that education could be the most important factor in improving South Africa's civil as well as economic life. Education has been shown to increase the earning potential of employees. Also education can be used as a way to help resolve the fractured civil identities of South Africans and build a sense of civil duty with respect for the individual. Education can improve tolerance and reconcile the past rifts in South African society. Ethical values can be taught to include accountability, social honor and multiculturalism. Education can be used to build a strong civil society that is necessary for democracy to flourish. Education is by no means the only thing needed to insure a flourishing South Africa, but

improvements in education will go a long way towards that end. Too many normative statements in an academic essay.
Not-so-Positive Action
In an attempt to de-stratify the work place, positive action or more commonly referred to as “Affirmative action“ has been implemented into the contructs?? of employment environments. Once again, still caught up in the mind set of race and ethnicity, the actual benefactors of such actions are unclear. Cultural affiliation is the primamry caveat of most discussions when determining how corpoarate positions are filled and by whom. These distinctions, do more to harm the action, than benefit it.

The term “divided“ is often used to describe to describe the cultures in South Africa. According to Simon Bekker and Anne Leidle of the University of Stellenbosch (bibliographical data), in the discussion of race in the work place, “Race forms an integral part of rank-and-file respondents‘ discussion of themselves and those around them. None the less, race is rarely the primary source of meaning and indeed only becomes the primary in specific circumstances: in the presence of marginalization and the lack of alternative sources of pride and self-esteem, and in the presence of enduring economic deprivation and of increased competition over jobs in the unskilled sector.“ (reference missing)

While there are many on-going problems with the economy, not to mention the increasing and very alarming situation with healthcare, primarily the aids epidemic, South African remains one of the most stable areas in the African continent. This proves that despite all the adversity, there is cohesiveness to these people; a desire to right the wrongs of the past, and take charge of their future. But the future will have to be dictated by South Africans themselves. They have the ultimate responsibility to change what they can. No one thought it was possible for a civil and peaceful transfer of power. The fact the country did not implode upon itself was a testament to the fact that people understood more would be accomplished with out bloodshed and violence. South Africa can be the template for reconstruction as well as a leader in developing a multi-cultural society that works for all its’ members. It is appropriate that the name commonly referred to by the likes of Nelson Mandela and various other African historians for the new South African government is “The Rainbow Nation”.


  1. Mamphela Ramphele Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge, (co-written with F. Wilson) [Academic Literature, David Philip, 1989]

  2. Nattrass, N. and J. Seekings. 2002. "Class, Distribution and Redistribution in Post-Apartheid South Africa", in Transformation, no.50 Center for Social Science Research

  3. Simon Bekker and Anne Leilde “ Is Multiculturalism a Workable Policy in South Africa” International Journal on Multicultural Societies Vol. 5, No. 2, 2003 www.unesco.org/shs/ijms/vol5/issue2/art2 copyright UNESCO

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