8 Photos of Post-Apartheid South Africa

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — While the whole world entered a new era of unparalleled progress in fields like high technology and medicine, South Africans still battled a regime that separated the nation based on skin color. In 1994, Nelson Mandela established the country as a democracy and thus ended the apartheid era. It can be widely agreed upon that South Africa is a far better place today. The years before 1994 seem monstrous, even unimaginable. However, as the nation celebrates its 20 years of democracy, the harsh reality of post-apartheid South Africa cannot be ignored, and this begs the question: If this is the present, then what will the future look like?

Prevalent Economic Hardships

post-apartheid South Africa
While there has been economic transformation, the South African economy grew at a mere 1.9 percent last year compared with average of five percent across the African continent. The nation’s currency, otherwise known as the rand, fell to a session low of 10.712 to the dollar this June. Thousands of workers have protested the resulting lowered wages, creating many incidences of strike-related violence.
Source: The Guardian
Photo: Presstv

Corruption within the Government

post-apartheid South Africa
This sprawling homestead, belonging to current president Jacob Zuma, is a jarring sight in one of the nation’s poorest areas, KwaZulu-Natal. In this area, 40 percent of the population is unemployed, only 10,000 households have electricity, 7,000 have no access to piped water and 12,000 use pit toilets. Meanwhile, the president’s homestead swallowed $23 million of taxpayers’ money.
Source and Photo: The Guardian

Discontent and Criticism

post-apartheid South Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was quoted in The Sunday Times stating, “I’m glad that [Mandela] is dead. I’m glad that most of the people are no longer alive to see this. I didn’t think there would be disillusionment so soon.” This is not the only time he has criticized the government. During a press conference in Cape Town, he declared, “You, President Zuma, and your government, do not represent me. I am warning you, as I warned the pro-apartheid nationalists, one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC [African National Congress] government.”
Sources: News24, The Guardian
Photo: News24

Freedom Day 2014

post-apartheid South Africa
Despite the widespread feelings of discontent and disillusionment, the ANC won in a landslide victory in this year’s election. The ANC has governed the nation for 20 years, and many people feel a loyalty toward the government that Mandela spearheaded in 1994. According to prominent HIV/AIDS activist Zachie Achmat, “Most people who vote ANC, vote for decent homes, economic justice, water and what the ANC calls a better life for all.” If the present problems are not alleviated, the ANC can expect a bigger battle in the 2019 elections. 
Sources: The Nation
Photo: NPR

Townships

post-apartheid South Africa
During the apartheid era, non-whites were forced to emigrate into these segregated areas known as townships. Khayelitsha, pictured above, is one of South Africa’s fastest growing townships. The communities face prevalent problems such as concentrated crime, poor education and lack of electricity.
Source and Photo: The Guardian

Intermingling of Races

post-apartheid South Africa
Despite the currently existing problems, this photo of young adults outside a cafe reveals the nation’s progress in breaking down the barriers that skin color once created.
Source and Photo: CSMonitor

Poor Education

post-apartheid south africa
The Apartheid government withheld resources from black schools, and the repercussions from that are still felt today. The country appears to have a “two-tiered education system” – there is a functional one for the wealthy, mostly white citizens, and a dysfunctional public system for poor blacks who rarely get the opportunity to advance to any form of higher education.
Source and Photo: The Guardian

HIV/AIDS

post-apartheid south africa
HIV/AIDS is still the biggest killer in South Africa. In 2001, 43 percent of South Africans deaths were caused by AIDS-related infections. Statistics show that in Vulindlela, an area of KwaZulu-Natal, two-thirds of the women are HIV positive by the age of 30. Johannasburg General Hospital has stated that the majority of babies who die in neonatal ICU are HIV positive. However, due to challenges such as misinformation and social stigma, less than five percent of the population has been tested. This reveals a dire need for better-implemented programs that promote awareness and seek out ways to reduce the disease’s prevalence.
Source: GSMA
Photo: FindingDulcinea

Although South Africa should be greatly admired for how it overcame so many obstacles, it cannot be denied that the post-apartheid nation still has quite a way to go. The present hovers on a pinnacle, and it is difficult to determine if the country will back-slide into the corruption and turbulent instability of the past, or move forward into a future of greater equality and prosperity for the whole nation.

Joan Chung

Featured Photo: WallsWorld

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Joan is a BORGEN Magazine writer.

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