South Africa Research Paper
As every country, South Africa has its own problems. Racial and ethnic discrimination, social and political unrest and poverty sharpened national contradictions and impacted individual culture of African nationalities and their mentality. Racial discrimination was a long and exhausting struggle of blacks, which brought hundreds of deaths and thousands of disabled. For a long time white people strived to save their domination over blacks, who rejected to put up with the fact, that they were still being considered a lower race. After the Second World War it has been even declared to be a crime. Nowadays everything has changed, but drastic consequences still remain in different spheres of life in South Africa.
South Africa is a multi-cultural country with over 40 million people and different ethnic groups with their own languages and cultures.
Here is the division of population in South Africa: The biggest groups: Zulus – 21% Xhosas – 17% Sotho – 15% Minorities: Tswana Venda Ndebele Pedi Swasi, etc
8% of the population is white people, originated from Dutch, German and French immigrants in particular. They speak Afrikaans, and in the times of racial discrimination it was prohibited to educate children in other language, than this one, which resulted in a number of strikes. Now white people mainly dwell in Cape Province and Natal. Among Europeans there are the Afrikaner, Anglofricans, British, Jutes and others. Nevertheless this multicultural society has serious contradictions between different ethnic groups, but democracy is gradually spreading here. What differentiates ethnicity and race?
Race unites people, who have common history, nationality and geographic location, while ethnicity classifies people by common customs, origins and traditions. Ethnic groups of people can’t be defined as races, because ethnicity is more precise and self-sufficient. An ethnic group not necessarily lives on one territory. But conflicts between ethnicities are similar to racial, national and religious controversies. Racism is most clearly defined as racial prejudices.
Nearly till the end of the XX century South African inhabitants were divided into white people, who possessed all rights, and blacks, who had only one right – to work. All laws, which fixed domination of whites of blacks, were passed Cape Town. The system was named “apartheid”, which is translated as “separate existence”. This term is not likely to tell anything to further generations, but not long ago people could hear it anywhere. What were the reasons for such laws? In fact, they were justified by the five times larger black population, and if to allow mixed marriages, for example, there won’t remain white people at all. Another reason was the idea, that native inhabitants are not civilized enough, and understand freedom, as freedom to rob and murder. On this basis the country authorities prohibited co-education of blacks and whites in schools and higher institutions.
Discrimination prevents ethnic and racial groups from sharing same civil, political, economic, cultural and other rights. And it continues to be the main problem of human rights in the world (The rights of ethnic and racial minorities, 2002) The apartheid took place between whites and blacks, but also affected such ethnic groups as Xhosas and Zulus, which stood up against each other, but not against the state authorities. Racial segregation, which was supposed to provide powerful political and economical conditions for whites, resulted in disaster. Major part of exceeding black population now dwells in poverty, which accordingly affects sanitary. It is common knowledge, that Southern Africa has the highest level of HIV/AIDS infected (over 25%). People suffer from lack of electricity, water and just proper places to live in. There are still problems with education, as many people remain illiterate. Such conditions also encourage criminal activity. The researcher Graeme Simpson claimed, that absence of proper social welfare and high level of unemployment caused political and criminal violence in South Africa. The reports show rapid increase of violent crimes. In 1992 there were 20,135 murders through the country, while the previous year the number was 14,693 (Simpson, 1993).
In earlier times people with dark color of skin in South Africa were deprived of the right to go to big cities freely. Their emergence in big cities was allowed only during working hours with the permission from employers. The rest of time, Africans ought to be in so-called “townships” on the outskirts of big cities. To picture it better, I would like to give an example of Dark City, where nearly 6,000 of native dwellers were unemployed. The level of joblessness and accordingly the level of criminality here was one of the highest in the whole South Africa. Police on the streets was a rare phenomenon. And the disapproval of racist regime grew through the country. In its history there were lots of tragic and cruel events, such as mass shooting of strikers, during one of which over hundreds of young people had been killed.
Nowadays, however, South Africa is actually “another country”. Sinton-City used to be the region of white money-bags, with the most expensive mansions, luxurious restaurants and the largest trade centers. In the past only black Africans who served white people (waiters, cleaners) were allowed to come here. In ten years everything has radically changed. Native population got access to education, state positions and business. However many people claim, that though equality is, essentially, very important, there is a problem of brain-drain at the moment. Service culture decreased in comparison with previous times. New government applies to life a program “affirmative actions”: in employment the preference is given to black people. It becomes harder for a white specialist to find work, and that’s why many well-educated and clever people go abroad. Very few of black people are competent specialists. This program of affirmative actions was borrowed from Americans: in times, when Lyndon Johnson ruled the country, such program was supposed to remove consequences of racial discrimination and provide equal rights for Afro-Americans. But we shouldn’t forget that apartheid in South Africa was abolished only 10 years ago, and the problem of education can’t be solved immediately.
First steps to improve the situation were taken by the Children’s Charter of South Africa, which openly declared about existing problems, and offered ways to eliminate them. Before this, black children in South Africa were silently abused. Children continue to be mistreated, and suffer from inequality in the area of education. Taking into account culture, languages and traditions of the children, measures should be taken to improve life of children, defend their rights, especially in those parts of the country, which have the highest level of poverty, political unrest and violence (The Children’s Charter of South Africa, 1992).
In conclusion I would like to say, that racial and ethnical discrimination greatly impacted the life of South African population, and its consequences need time to be wiped out completely.
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