How has racial differences between black and white citizens affected politics in South Africa since pre-1994 till now?

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Whites are outnumbered ten to one in South Africa, so once black citizens were given equal rights and access to the voting booth, there was no question they were also given absolute political control of the Presidency and Parliament.  While there has been racial tension since 1994, it has been nowhere near what was predicted before Apartheid was abolished.  The trends we now see in that country are the economic segregation of major cities, with white enclaves and a large number of blacks still living in poverty in the townships - even though Apartheid is gone and blacks run the government, you can still see this legacy.  Politically, a small but vocal white minority in Parliament makes alliances with different factions of black legislators on some key issues and tries to hold their own, but the African National Congress still dominates.

mattwhiteman's profile pic

mattwhiteman | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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South Africa's recent political history has effected most by decades of apartheid.  The word "apartheid" literally means "apartness," which sums up the political interactions between blacks (and coloureds) and whites.  Blacks had very few rights during apartheid.  They could not vote, attend white schools, or even marry outside of the Christian Church.  Whites received the best jobs, education, and land.  Because of the efforts of Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, black South Africans eventually received the same rights and opportunities as whites.  Unfortunately, the socioeconomic status of blacks will take decades to match whites.  The question for politicians today is:  How to "bridge the gap" without throwing the country into political or economic chaos.  A challenge, indeed.

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