The only difference between these two countries was that America overturned the anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia whereas; South Africa persisted in prohibiting these relationships. One reason that makes South Africa unique is because it achieved a political revolution by negotiation and it transformed its status in world affairs (Barber, 2004). South Africa has a variety of racial and ethnic groups, but they are all classified into a four-group scheme: Whites, blacks, colored, and Asians. Interestingly, as South Africa moved toward majority rule in the 1990s, ethnic divisions and tribal conflict intensified (World Book, 2010).
An intense conflict erupted between the ANC (Mandela’s group) and that of Chief Buthelezi (Inkatha Freedom Party). The ANC backers were Xhosas while Inkatha appealed to the Zulu nation (World Book, 2010). This intense conflict led to much violence and thousands of deaths. The African National Congress played a major role in winning political and civil rights for the country’s blacks and other nonwhites (World Book, 2010). Nelson Mandela believed that South Africa was a nation for everyone not only Whites or Blacks.
The Inkatha Freedom Party was originally founded to generate mass support for the Zulu monarchy (World Book, 2010). I agree with the author Emery when he states “class is basic but minor to race when explaining the creation and downfall of the racial upheaval in South Africa” (Emery, 2008). Racial discrimination wounds people and I know that from my personal experience. As Lever concludes that, some of the ones who have suffered acknowledge it with quiet submission even as others become irate and mutinous (Lever, 1976). Lever also writes about the frustration-aggression theory of prejudice.
The Jewish community in South Africa was very sympathetic to the Black South Africans during the Apartheid era, since as a minority group the Whites have also discriminated against them (Lever, 1976). In an article that I read, Lever describes two studies that college students experimented in colleges and one study of the White residents of Johannesburg completing a survey. All three studies study the effect of frustration on prejudice in South Africa (Lever, 1976). I learnt that the slogan for the African National Congress was “We Are One People” which represents the fact that South Africa is for all the citizens irrespective of their race.
The significance of South Africa and their study of racial-ethnic relations lie equally in the past as much as it does in the current affairs of the present. I would have to agree with that because you always have to pay attention to history but also the present and future of racial-ethnic relations in a country. If you do not pay attention to the past, you are doomed to repeat their mistakes. It is sad that South Africa had a xenophobic system that the government completely justified and imposed.
Other societies should learn from the injustice of the apartheid system that formally ruled South Africa just more than a decade ago. Ethnocentrism is wrong but of course people are only human and that makes them prone to making mistakes. The rigid system of Apartheid began in the year 1949 and finally ended in 1994. The primacy of race over class is also indicated by the anti-apartheid movements’ historic demands for inclusive nationalism and the new regimes’ search for justice through policies of deracialization. Specifically, classes created a racialized labor repressive system.
However, class theories inadequately explain the comprehensiveness and resilience of race domination. This consequently ensued from ethnic mobilizations to create a white ethnocracy and cleanse South Africa of other ethnic groups. The colonialization of the Boers instantaneously clashed with almost all the indigenous tribes of South Africa exactly like how the Anglos subjugated the Native Americans in the beginning of America. As the Boers pressed on to the borders of South Africa, conflicts between the various tribes were unceasing until complete supremacy of the Boers was recognized.
Yet again, much like the white pioneers of America, the Boers assumed themselves to be ethnically advanced simply because they considered it was predestined by their religion. These beliefs became even stronger as they became more isolated from outside influence and in fact had become “white Africans,” maintaining no strong ties to a motherland; the Boers thus became “Afrikaners” (Marger, 2009). In my third year at Kennesaw State University, in one of my Literature classes we watched an amazing movie called Bopha! and it was about South Africa’s Apartheid era.
This movie looks at apartheid from the remarkable viewpoint of Micah Mangena who happens to be a black master sergeant in the South African Police. Bopha! is a memorable tragedy about one man that is played out against the backdrop of South Africa’s own fight to come to terms with itself. Micah is almost unreasonably blind to what is happening around him. He does not question the injustices of apartheid or seem to see the horrendous financial and societal circumstances built into the system. When other blacks shun him and his family, he is prone to see that as proof of doing a good job.
One extraordinary scene that is also one of my favorites is when Micah tells the new black recruits to be honored when they hear themselves being called pigs. He writes “PIG” on the blackboard and explains: “P” is for pride, “I” for intelligence and “G” for guts or glory (Canby, 1993). Another movie about South Africa’s tragic apartheid era is The Color of Friendship and I watched it one night on the Disney Channel when it premiered. Mahree Bok lives on her family farm in South Africa. Her father is a police officer who cannot hide his joy when activist Steve Biko is caught by the South African authorities.
Piper Dellums is the daughter of a US congressional representative from California who lives in a nice home in Washington DC. This movie was based on the true story of black Congressman Ron Dellums, who is forced to confront his opposition to apartheid when an African exchange student comes to stay at his home in 1977. Expecting a person of color, he and his wife Roscoe are surprised when a white South African girl arrives. Even more startling was the fact that the girl was raised during Apartheid and taught to think of black people as second-class citizens.
The situation teaches them valuable lessons about tolerance and racism.
References Barber, J. (2004). Mandela’s World: the International Dimension of South Africa’s Political Revolution, 1990-1999. Oxford, James Currey. Canby, V. (1993). Bopha! 1993September 24, 1993 Movie Review. NYTIMES. http://movies. nytimes. com/movie/review? res=9F0CEEDF143DF937A1575AC0A965958260. Emery, A. (2008). Class and Race Domination and Transformation in South Africa. Critical Sociology (Sage Publications, Ltd. ), 34(3), 409-431. Farley, J. E. , (2000). Majority – Minority Relations. (4th Ed. ) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Giliomee, H. , (2003). The Afrikaners: Biography of a People. London, Hurst ; Co. Johnson, A. (1995). “Frederik Willem de Klerk: a conservative revolutionary. ” UNESCO Courier: 22(2). Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. Brandeis University. Karsten, C. (2009). Charlize: Life’s One Helluva Ride. Cape Town, Human & Rousseau. pp. 14-19. http://www. scribd. com/doc/21251449/Charlize-Life-s-One-Helluva-Ride. Kizilos, P. , (1998). South Africa: Nation in Transition. (1st Ed. ) Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company. Lever, H. , (1976). FRUSTRATION AND PREJUDICE IN SOUTH AFRICA.
Journal of Social Psychology, 100(1), 21. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Lewis, M. P. , (ed. ), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex. : SIL International. Marger, M. N. , (2009). Race and Ethnic Relations. (8th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Mitchell, T. (2002). Indispensable traitors: liberal parties in settler conflicts. Praeger. Walters, T. , (2010). Ela Gandhi, My City: Durban. TimesLive. http://www. timeslive. co. za/lifestyle/article487753. ece/Ela-Gandhi World Book Student. World Book, 2010. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.