When South Africa got its independence in 1994, a great sense of euphoria engulfed the country at the whole of Africa at large. The period marked a new epoch in the history of the continent, as the oppressed black South Africans had been disentangled from the unfair and repressive political grip of the whites.
However, the harsh reality soon dawned in. The jovial celebrations of independence gradually faded into oblivion, as black South Africans came to terms with the brutal reality of economic disempowerment. As Kwame Nkrumah admitted in his book in 1964, political independence does not necessarily imply economic independence. By then, Kwame admitted this after seeing the monumental and dismal failure of his economic policies. But that was not the case. The same phenomenon also gripped South Africa, the majority of blacks were not afforded economic freedom but were simply an attestation of political freedom.
When South Africa got its independence, the majority of Africa envisaged a wonderful scenario where blacks would own the majority means of production in the country, where they would be economically empowered and where poverty would become a thing of the past for the black people. But alas, economic injustice was perpetuated under the post-apartheid government. The primary reason for this is Mandela’s failure to negotiate a better economic deal for black South Africans. He simply put much of his focus towards the political aspect, while neglecting the crucial aspect of wealth re-distribution.
Right now, the majority of black South Africans wallow in a quagmire of poverty. Some of them live a degraded kind of human existence. On the other hand, the whites still enjoy the majority means of production in South Africa. The economy of South Africa is dominated by whites, which disadvantages the black South Africans and because of this the income inequality is grossly high and unreasonably unfair. What c would have been expected in South Africa was a situation where the blacks own the majority of the wealth, where the blacks are economically empowered. This crisis is exacerbated by the currently crop of black politicians in power who are very dominant when it comes to corruption, nepotism and cronyism. A deplorable scenario!
Racism is still a menace in the South African society. It has often been said that the concept of the rainbow nation only existed in the minds of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, and that it was an illusion far from reality. It focused on the reconciliation ands the whites used this to their advantage. They continued to purport for forgiveness and all its appendages. While this was noble, it was wrongly interpreted. The whites forgot about the pain they had inflicted on blacks, such that the still take for granted. Only the likes of Mandela are seen as real black people, the heroes, while the rest of the blacks are viewed as criminals, thieves and so forth.
Post-Apartheid South Africa promised a new lease of life for black South Africans. But the reality is that a lot still needs to be done to improve the lives of black South Africans who are still suffering, many years after the attainment of independence.