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					South Africa


South Africa: The Black Africans



South Africa Africa, the second largest continent with an expansive population topping near 700 million people, is home to a tropical climate, amazing species of animals, and over 800 languages and cultures. This land is full of singing, dancing, drumming, and concerts. Thinking of Africa brings the vision of undiscovered, unexplored lands of mysteries and wonder never discussed in polite company. Reaching the Republic of South Africa from New York City takes


nearly 18.5 hours – a lengthy trip that allows its travelers to feel like ancient explorers bound for places unknown, awaiting to meet fulfilling experiences plentiful with mystifying people, plants, and animals. This journey is expected to spectacular, with lands that are brutal and beautiful at the same time – a journey not to disappoint. The Republic of South Africa is a land plentiful with all that an exploring traveler can hope and dream of within a vacation. For those who are looking for the bustle of the busy urban life, it offers the cities of both Cape Town and Johannesburg. On the other hand, for those individuals who prefer to hide away from the commotion and flurry, the Karoo plateau offers rocky hills and mountains in which to hide. Yet, those who were expecting to see a vast, expansive desert, they will not be disappointed once they come across the Kalahari Desert. These lands include lush tropics or coastlines, such as that of the Cape of Good Hope, offering much to experience and enjoy. The lands of South Africa run from rainy to dry, high to low, and sparse to lush. Those looking for animals can visit any number of preserves and sanctuaries to see any number of vast and varied wild life, such as Kruger National Park in the Songimvelo Game Reserve for game viewing or Hermanus on the Southern Cape for whale watching. South Africa offers the allure and promise of the tales of Tarzan wove into our imaginations when we were children. The adult in us wants to see that life and we can.

South Africa However, for those daring travelers who prefer to step off of the tourist sites, you won‘t


be disappointed as you discover many other locations around South Africa. A mix of the cultures history and way of life developed into and turned into a great experience. South Africa, in many ways, is a microcosm of the world. It brightly displays the promise the life on one hand and the cruelty of humanity on the other. With one hand, it welcomes you to the promise of beauty and mystery, with the other it warns you not to step too close. The warning hand should be listened to, because the secrets it hides are not pleasant or easy to see or experience. The secrets it hides may make you want to forget you saw them. They involve poverty beyond American understanding, despair and loss of hope unknown to those brought up on the American Dream, disease that makes us think of leper colonies, and discrimination that so ruins the fabric and experience of life that even its supposed elimination fails to equalize the situation. The South African government policy of Apartheid officially ended in 1994 (Polgreen) – if only official endings to inhuman policies and laws could end as cleanly as national celebrations do. Instead, the promises of a voice, of jobs, of equality made to many of South Africa‘s racial or ethnic disadvantaged have remained unfulfilled. Race is defined as the classification of people due to characteristics, mainly due to genetics, which they share, such as skin color, bone structure, etc. Ethnicity, unlike race, is not based on genetics. Instead, it is a way in which people who share an ancestry or culture are grouped together due to their shared common beliefs, thoughts, language, and society. Under Apartheid the South African government categorized people into races and ethnicities. Races were either white or black under Apartheid. Classified as ―Coloreds‖ were those whose ethnicity united them because they were either mixed race or Asian/Indian backgrounds (―Brown,‖ as it were) and they were definitely not ―White.‖

South Africa


Many Colored people, consisting of mainly mixed Black/White or Indians and Pakistanis, have found nothing has changed after Apartheid. In fact, for the Coloreds, life after Apartheid may even be worse than it was before, as explained by one still unemployed worker (Polgreen): ‗In the old system we weren't white enough,‘ Mr. Khan said. ‗Now we aren't black enough. It is still colored people who are stuck in the middle, and no one cares about us. I am not a racist, and I fought in the struggle against apartheid. But we have to admit that under white rule, we had a better life — less crime, more welfare, better schools and doctors.‘ The African National Congress promised jobs, education, and potential to the Colored but has delivered little if anything (Polgreen, Brill). Approximately half of South Africa‘s population, mainly those who are Black or Colored, still live in poverty (Brill). South African poverty is very different from that which we see in America. The poor In America have access to shelter, food, and medical care, even if only sporadically. Poverty in a third world country is not as comfortable as it is in America. Regardless of how terrible poverty is in America, it is far worse in South Africa (Brill). Medical care, if it is even accessible, may be dozens of miles away and there is no mass transit system (Lonely Planet). There is no assurance of government assistance or support for diseases that are slowly killing off South Africans, such as HIV/AIDS (Polgreen, Brill). The improvements in education have not occurred and Blacks and Minorities still remain unable to achieve the prosperity Whites still have a near exclusive hold on (Beresford). It would be impossible to expect that end of government sanctioned discrimination in 1994 could quickly reverse the impoverishment, lack of education, and lack of hope Black and Colored South Africans developed through centuries of colonial discrimination, near feudal labor systems, and laws designed to humiliate and segregate (Mhone). What may have been unexpected, however,

South Africa was the anger and resentment that would build up between Blacks and Coloreds, who had long been united under Apartheid (Polgreen, Mhone). Coloreds, who still face incredible poverty, feel cheated by the African National Congress. They are now taking out their anger and frustration in protests and in criminal activities. The Republic of South Africa, even after fourteen years have past since the Apartheid,


this region still remains a dark place for many of its inhabitants. Although the beauty of the lands may be seductive and can offer a wondrous experience, the life of its human inhabitants still remain harsh and often painful. African dreams may lure us to South Africa, but the battle has not yet been won. The reality of life after Apartheid is that its harms remain in existence.

South Africa Reference Page Beresford, D. (2006). ―South African Firms Deny Discrimination.‖ The Guardian. September 13, 2006. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from Brill, A. (2004). ―Ten Years After Apartheid, South African Voters Face Jobs, AIDS Issues.‖ Newshour Extra. PBS. April 12, 2004. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from


Mhone, G. (2001). Labour Market Discrimination and its Aftermath in Southern Africa. United Nations Institute for Social Development. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from a9db732768780256b84003e9c6e/$FILE/dmhone.pdf Polgreen, L. (2003). ―For Mixed-Race South Africans, Equity Is Elusive.‖ The New York Times. July 27, 2003. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from 50a3228c463bc&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND ―South Africa: Overview: Wildlife, Wild Times and a Culture in Repair‖ (NA). Lonely Planet. Retrieved June 30, 2008, from

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