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[Editorial] 30 years later, is apartheid really over?

The 30 1991 June, the Population Registration Act, one of the piller laws of apartheid, was abolished. Thirty years later, racial segregation no longer exists in South Africa. But another apartheid still exists. In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who came to power a year earlier, admitted: “We cannot be a free nation as long as so many people live in poverty, do not have enough to eat, do not have roof worthy of the name, do not have access to quality health services, do not have the means to earn a living ”. While blacks now have the same rights as whites, disparities persist. According to the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR), 20% of black households live in extreme poverty, compared to just 3% of white households.

"We are not free because we do not have economic freedom"

This economic discrimination is accompanied by a lack of political courage. Because if apartheid is officially over, racism is inherent in South African society. Asked in 2017 about the concept of “Rainbow Nation” invented by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson's widow Willie Mandela replied: “The colors of the rainbow do not mix and 'there is neither black nor white among them. The comparison therefore does not make sense ”. The activist spoke then “of a total myth which the leaders of the time wanted us to believe. It was wishful thinking that never matched the slightest reality. Reconciliation was only a facade; we are not free because we do not have economic freedom ”.

The abolition of apartheid was only the beginning of the struggle

"In many ways, South Africa today remains the domain of the white minority," continued Willie Mandela. By transforming itself into a structured political party, by integrating the mysteries of the state and by not fighting enough against corruption within it, the ANC has missed its mutation. As Nelson Mandela's widow said, "the ANC needs new blood to lead South Africa on the path to freedom." Ramaphosa has since come to power. But with more than half of young South Africans unemployed, with ghettos, like Soweto, still reserved for blacks and with capital that remains in the hands of the white minority, the ANC seems not to have measured how much the abolition of apartheid was not only the beginning of the struggle.

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