News / Africa

Economic Gaps Slowing Reconciliation in South Africa

A South African woman, bounces the ball on her head while playing with a football next to their homes in a Soweto, township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, July 4, 2013.
A South African woman, bounces the ball on her head while playing with a football next to their homes in a Soweto, township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, July 4, 2013.
Anita Powell
— A research group is appealing for what it calls “radical reconciliation” in South Africa as the nation approaches the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid.  The report by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation found stark inequalities that continue to fall along race lines. 

The new study makes some heartening findings as South Africa approaches 20 years of democratic rule.  Yet it also shows that the nation’s old wounds go very deep.

One of the survey’s key findings is somewhat encouraging: just two decades after South Africa ended its race-based apartheid system, class is now more important to many South Africans than race.

However, researchers also found that South Africans at the very bottom of that scale are nearly all black, sais Kim Wale, lead author of this week's report.

"One of our key findings is that South Africans report that class inequality has become the greatest impediment to national reconciliation," Wale said. "However, class inequality continues to reflect racial division.”

The nation’s last census backed that up, showing that on average, white South African households earn more than six times what black households do. Researchers interviewed more than 3,500 South Africans in all nine provinces for the institute's survey.

Little faith in government

Wale also noted that South Africans have less faith than ever in their government, with confidence in the national government dropping 11 percent since last year.   

The report calls for South African leaders to seek what the authors call “radical reconciliation.”  That is sure to become a talking point in next year’s national election, with new opposition parties are already calling for the government to nationalize key resources in a bid to address economic inequality.

Wale says the party that wins needs to make a serious attempt to address inequality.

“So basically radical reconciliation, it tends to push us beyond the psychological and interpersonal dimensions of the concept of reconciliation to emphasize the importance of addressing material inequalities," she said. "And it proposes that for national reconciliation we need both of these legs: the psychological and interpersonal reconciliation, and also the socioeconomic transformation.”

Wale says the survey results are not surprising considering South Africa’s history.

"Apartheid was a very powerfully created system of inequality, it’s going to take a lot of work to undo that.  So it makes sense that at this stage, 20 years into democracy, we need to start asking the hard questions in relation to reconciliation."

This discussion is expected to continue on the national stage as South Africa heads to the polls next year.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Keith Roberts from: South Africa
December 07, 2013 9:40 PM
Lots of long words which are not explained in detail, but they mean, I think, that Whites must give more so that Blacks can take more. Can this government not make it easier to set up businesses so that employment can be increased?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid