Racism in SA: “We experience it on a daily basis”

South Africa might be fabled as a “rainbow nation” but the reality is a lot more black and white. The country remains racially divided, just like Apartheid intended. But what is the solution?  LIZEKA MADUNA spoke to three Durbanites what they think of racism in South Africa. 

ThandekaThandeka Mbatha, 27, floor manager, Umlazi
Racism is discrimination against a person based on their skin colour or origin. Although I have never experienced it directly, I have witnessed cases and heard people sharing their experiences, especially domestic workers. Our democracy is 20 years young but racism and other social issues such as gender inequality are still rife. Our reaction towards racists or racist remarks only fuel things and drives a wedge between different races. Open debates could be a great step into ending racism diligently because we cannot change how individuals think or behave; it’s a matter of morality.



BhekiBheki Zwane, 27, mechanic, Umlazi
Racism was there before our democracy and despite the endless struggles and sacrifices, it still lives within us. Whether one experiences it directly or indirectly, the truth is that it affects us all. Social media isn’t helping either; instead of educating people to know better it seems to be making matters worse. Politics are also a driving force behind the social injustices we are faced with as ordinary citizens. We shouldn’t let the politicians use us as their scapegoats to get wealthier while we are fighting on the ground. The only possible solution for ending racism is to look deep into the root cause, talk openly about it and stop blaming everything on apartheid. The problem lies with us as people of this country.


Bongiwe (1)Bongiwe Mabunga, 29, counsellor, Umgababa
The issue of racism is a broad issue and not only in South Africa. We experience it on a daily basis in different spaces and it is escalating instead of diminishing. The racism has become so intense that our children have also become racist because of the environments they are exposed to. If children can learn to hate at such a young age, chances are that racism will never end. We should talk to them at home about it, educators at school should talk to them about and the government should create platforms for open discussions where the youth will engage on the social issues affecting our society. At this day in a 21st century, people shouldn’t be treated unfairly based on their skin colour. Also, people shouldn’t be privileged based on their race and origin, we must all feel the equality.

Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity
Featured image by Nathi Ngubane