The recent events at Free State University demonstrated that racism is still very alive in South Africa. The segregation system was officially end in 1994, but these 14 years were not enough to heal the wounds. The video showing white students humiliating black staff members of the university was shocking. But it was not the only one that made us think about the real situation of racial relations in SA. There was a recent case of murder when a white man entered an informal settlement in Skielik and opened fire on residents, killing four, including two children (one of 10 yo, the other was a 3-month little baby). Not forgetting the case of a Forum for Black Journalist, when a white journalist was forced to leave.
Those cases confirmed that injures were not cured yet. It demands time and, of course, good will and humanity.
I hope this case could be solved soon with the offenders brought to justice. I also pray that this case do not seriously damage the post-apartheid progress in building democracy on that country.
But it is also important to look at the poor, because there will be no peace or democracy if people continue to be ignored by the government. Don’t matter if the state is being rule by white, black, mixed of a blue person. The more the distance between poorest (rising since 1994) and richest, the less country became a real peaceful place to live. It’s very sad to read interviews transcriptions where people (black and poor) say “life was better under apartheid”. It was really chocking for me.
Abahlali baseMjondolo, a mass movement of shack dwellers and other poor people in SA is fighting against this new kind of segregation. The states try to hide poverty by moving people far from cities, by force. The skin color and social situation didn’t change.
You can have more on Abahlali visiting its website. There you can find, among others, texts, videos, news about the movement. The entry on Wikipedia is also enlightening.
Please also check this short film produced by Sleeping Giant. It’s a documentary, called Dear Mandela, about this new kind of apartheid in South Africa.