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February 11, 2010
Two decades after Mandela’s release, economic rift lingers

Two decades ago — after 27 years in prison — Nelson Mandela walked out of prison in South Africa.

But while black South Africans are politically equal, they still don’t enjoy economic equality with whites.

The disparities are perhaps best illustrated by the country’s black townships.

Haru Mutasa reports for Worldfocus partner Al Jazeera English:

Has South Africa fallen short in living up to Mandela’s dream of equality for all South Africans?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

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28 comments

#28

Perhaps if South Africa returned to apartide the standard of living for the average Black-south African would increase due to the industrious managing of the countries economy by the white minority. The GDP of South Africa has declined since the blacks took over. Freedom does not mean that everything is free. It takes hard work to build a nation– stop crying and start working!!!!

#27

Maybe South Africa should have a little known item that can be found in America. It is called Section 8, it is a houseing code to put people into homes, well that was the way it was supposed to be. Some big cities use it to clean out those folks from houseing projects and put them into the burbs. If you are of a certain ethic group and have more than 2 children you can get Section 8. You get to live in the burbs, free for the rest of your life. You get free medicial, food, clothing, insurance, and sometimes a free car which the State will pay for its insurance. You can even get free college, maybe not where President Obama went too, but it is still free.
Just ask any person who works in an government welfare office on who gets free stuff and who get the shaff.

#26

The government must do more to reduce black poverty. Something has to be done to right the wrongs of the past. Those in power seem set on enriching themselves instead of working for the less fortunate. Mr. Zuma should spend more time finding solutions for poor South Africans instead of looking for more wives and fathering illegitimate children.

#25

Yes, South Africa has fallen short in living up to not only Mandela’s dream, but also every Black South African dream of equality for all South Africans.

But, what did you think was going to change? The Old Leadership of South Africa release Mandela to stop any real change of power in South Africa. South Africa is still control by the Old Leadership i.e., the people who own the South Economic Industry!

This just shows how having the “Vote” don’t make you “Equal.” It only moved Black South African into a new stage of would have been call Independent, and what really would have been called Neo Colonialism.

It shows how having the vote don’t change anything without having “Economic Control” of your country i.e., Economic Power and Ownership.

Having a vote only give you the illusion of equality and no power to change anything. Voting alone only makes you a “Dreamer.” It will not change the economic situation of poverty, redistribution of land, and wealth etc in South Africa! The problems Black South African faced before Mandela went to jail, why he was in jail for 27 years, and continue to face NOW daily.

In Struggle and Real Development

Kenny S

#24

Mr Mandela is a wonderful human being and had really great plans for South Africa. Unfortunately the politicians in power do not share his dreams – I get so upset every time I visit that beautiful country and see the corruption that goes on at the expense of the people! And stop blaming the white people [I am not white!] it has been 15 years enough time to have seen an improvement but as long as the politicians only think of getting richer it will not happen! Enough said! World Focus should do some investigative reporting! Thank you.

#23

Change in South Africa will take generations. Mandela and his vision of equality will in the decades, or in the centuries, come to pass. It’s not too soon to ask questions about the impact of Mandela; but, it is too soon to
expect to see the equality Mandela dreamed of, miracles take a little longer.

#22

Maybe they should come here !!!

#21

These things take time-you know,showing open air toilets epitomises the situation-most people would immediately build a stall around it,after all the government installed them.But no,apathy or laziness prevails-thats the problem…………

#20

I worked in South Africa for 6 months last year, and although Apartheid is LEGALLY abolished, you would never think that the case, as it is definitely the “haves” and “have-nots” still, in this beautiful country. Meaning the whites have, and the blacks don’t. I was ashamed to be a white man, when I heard the evil, vile racism, still coming out of white people’s mouths. And at ALL levels of class. I commend the native black people for not simply TAKING what is theres. But, one day, they might, and the white supremists will only have themselves to blame.

#19

A country Rich in its Soil, Gold and 20 years later the masses of people are POOR small change only More must be done the people are never free unless they are eccomomicaly enslaved

#18

Black South Africans must work for a better life through education and working hard for economic improvements. Black South Africans must not expect handouts, because this is only a short-term solution. Black South Africans must work and better themselves. Hopefully South Africa will not turn into another Zimbabwe. Blacks must not turn South Africa into a nightmare.

#17

I was very disappointed in the report. The headline mentioned the difference between legal and economic equality, the report itself did not. In fact, the actual report only focused on economic equality and equated it to legal equality. Legal equality is much easier to do than to even begin to attempt economic equality –even if that is something a government wants to tackle. Your report was therefore both an incomplete and biased account…

#16

The whole world has fallen short of Nelson’s dream and Martin’s and John Lennon’s and too many others including mine. This is not an excuse to end dreaming.

#15

The Black South Africans need to go to the next level- economic empowerment. Freedom without economic development is a dream deferred.
Langhton Hughes described a “dream deferred” as just “exploding.
The old guard is still holding the purse strings. Power is never given away- one can only take it.
The South African and American Blacks need to take more intitiative and focus on economic empowerment.

#14

Political freedom does not, and has never, guaranteed financial success. There are examples of aboriginal South Africans achieving financial success, and like in any free society, this is the result of the individuals efforts.

Liberty does not guarantee freedom from poverty. But it has only been 20 years. If the aboriginal population wants a better life, they will need to set out to find a need, and find a way to fill that need. Just like every one else does in any “free” society.

#13

If that toilet that was shown on a South African street that did not have any walls around it for privacy was placed there by the government, then at least the government has certainly fallen short in decency. Incidentally, a bit off topic, but yesterday, the BBC reported that they had learned of a British man that had been tortured by the CIA while being held in a U.S. run prison. I noticed that World Focus did not mention anything about that in either last nights’ or tonights’ telecast.

#12

A murky presentation of the issue of South African Black poverty at best on World Focus tonight (Wed.) Blacks achieved limited political freedom but little economic freedom. White capitalists still held the keys to the treasury. They owned the banks and the corporations. Whites made certain that Blacks signed away their birthright to a fair and just society. Mandella stands as a figurehead of limited freedom. He was happy to accept the adulation. Whites smugly settled down in comfortable chairs in their country clubs to conduct business as usual. World Focus did not deal at all this most important issue. Why? It was right there in front of you.

#11

Land reform sure solved the problem in Zimbabwe didn’t it? I see South Africa being another Zimbabwe within ten years. Someone please point out to me a country with a black government that works.

#10

While the new government in 1991 was celebrating its success and hoping for Mandela’s dream for equality, consultants were playing their own game. Power sits at many levels in a corporation or a country. International consultants have experience gained elsewhere. Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine explained how this happened in South Africa and why much of the wealth stayed where it was.

#9

Africans will continue to to impoverished there until the issue of land reform is addressed.

#8

It is interesting that SouthAfrican expect money will fall from heaven after Mandela declared equality after their freedom.NOPE! Now that you are free, flex those muscles and start working hard to have good life. Good life is not given, it is earned. Even here in America life is not EQUAL those who work hard and have skills better their lives. I came from the Philippines and work my butt off to make my life better. Work your butt off guys.

#7

Over 20 years ago, I had a conversation with a ranking member of the ANC in the U. S. He told me how wonderful South Africa will be after Mandela’s release and the power-sharing agreement. I said to him, “You forget one major problem, my brother–whites own nearly 100% of the economic, social and physical infrastructure. How will you get them to divest their monopoly?” He had no response. Mandela’s dream will come much harder than his hopes just like Dr. King’s dream for America is still not a reality here. Because the dream of Mandela’s like the dream of King’s is still not the dream, the hopes nor the desires of most whites in either country, the final frontier called equality
will the hardest fought territory. Just before King died, he realized that liberty without equality rings a hollow victory. What remains now in South Africa like America is the battle for the heart and conscience of the Caucasian citizens. If they are determined to hold onto their pre-Mandela life and society, then progress shall be imperceptibly slow. Look at any recently freed society! E. g. black Americans finally got their legal freedom with the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (anti-discrimination law) and 1965 (voting rights law). Forty-five (45) years later two-thirds of all U. S. blacks still live in poverty and less than 50% of the eligible black voters have registered to vote (Obama’s campaign, notwithstanding). Prejudice and racism cannot be legislated away–this evil must be driven out by those having the courage and inner-spirit to embrace the will of God to stand against this evill with all their might (Ephes. 6: 12-20).

#6

South Africa will end up like Zimbabwe. It is just a matter of time.

#5

I think while racial equality has gotten alot better than 50yrs ago. The economic equality just hasn’t been there for African people. I think the governments there need to better their schools, and provide better jobs for their people.

#4

The most shocking thing in this piece is that as long as that toilet has been there – no one has just gone ahead and built a shelter around it – you can see fabric and corrugated iron in the background everywhere – if this was a favela, it would have been built within a day of installation – until all South Africans pick up their shovels and do this very basic self-maintenance, there’s not much the rest of us can do.

#3

yes but it surely aint his fault except for dreaming

#2

Certainly South Africa has failed to reach full racial equality. Full realization of this goal is not something which can be expected in 20 years. The tremendous progress in the right direction should be celebrated. The hurdles yet to be overcome should motivate South Africans to stay vigilant, and remind them of the message of Mandela and his fellow civil rights workers.

#1

South African Blacks are still waiting for change, as are US Blacks and Blacks all over the world. They are not willing to work for it, get an education, acquire skills or learn trades to make themselves an asset rather than a welfare recipicant. They want it given to them, by the whites, without any effort on their own part. There is a reason that in the year 2010, blacks are not much different than they were when the phrase “White Man’s Burden” was first coined. The only difference is, the White Man is now denying that burden, and has ceased to care.

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