Economic Inequality: Apartheid’s Legacy in South Africa

When you look up the term apartheid, you will find that the oppressive system of discrimination and segregation on the basis of race in South Africa ended in the year of 1994, but if you took it upon yourself to travel to Cape Town or Johannesburg you would find that this is idealistic version of the end of apartheid doesn’t entirely ring true. The present day country of South Africa can now be seen as a tourist destination for outsiders to experience the food, diversity, and culture but for black South Africans their life is the aftermath of the lasting legacy of apartheid.

Before getting into the effects of apartheid, we must cover what apartheid was. The word apartheid means “apartness” in Afrikaans. Apartheid was a system of white minority rule which unfortunately left the country’s vast black majority poor and powerless. It was an intricate system of institutionalized racism and segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to early 1994. Despite the official termination of apartheid, many South African neighbourhoods still remain structurally segregated. The blacks live in grime and poverty while the whites live in a life of lush and luxury.

Although the end of apartheid brought about a termination for racial segregation, the country still needs to overcome economic barriers that prevent economic growth in the black community, while financial gain is apparent amongst the whites. This causes an unfair system in which there is unequal access to the economy, known as economic apartheid. South Africa’s government must have fair rules in order to stop the minority of the country from receiving the majority of the wealth.

As of now in present day South Africa studies by local researchers have found that black South Africans are almost always less successful than white people moving up career paths. The polarity in South Africa is so prominent that Cape Town’s GINI Index, which scientists use to measure inequality is 63 out of 100, one of the highest scores in the world. These statistics do not reflect the great Nelson Mandela’s plans and dreams for a greater life for all at the fall of apartheid.

Many would agree that through evidence of black South Africans gaining the right to vote and having black leaders such as the great Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki South Africa has come a long way since the 1950s, but through evidence of economic inequality it becomes obvious that South Africa still has a long way to go.

Photo credit: Business Insider 



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