Race is an important, and often neglected, part of the development process. It usually makes things just a bit more complicated when it comes to distribution of resources and access to education and employment. South Africa is an emerging BRICS country whose race issue has been hard to ignore because of the geographical implications of the apartheid system. However, South Africa’s efforts to counteract the effects of apartheid have been both successful and unsuccessful, creating opportunity but also allowing inequalities to persist.
South Africa’s racial inequalities took center stage in the early 1990s with the end of apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s call for South Africa to become a “rainbow nation.” This objective was portrayed in 1995 by the rugby team and Rugby World Cup, also depicted in the film Invictus. The apartheid system physically separated people of different racial origins into distinct geographical areas that limited interracial mixing. South Africa chose four categories to define its people under the apartheid system: white, Indian/Asian, coloured, and black.
Unfortunately racism persists in South Africa and leads to tumultuous political situations and violent acts. A recent example is the vocal outcry that erupted from a poster issued by South Africa’s Democratic Alliance that illustrates an interracial couple with the caption “In OUR future, you wouldn’t look twice.” Black South Africans continue to suffer disproportionately as compared with whites. As a result, affirmative action plans were implemented; helping black South Africans gain jobs and entrance to universities. Continue reading