29 years after Desmond Tutu led the largest anti-apartheid march, has anything changed in South Africa?

September 13, 2018 at 01:10 pm | Opinions & Features

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

September 13, 2018 at 01:10 pm | Opinions & Features

Photo Credit: www.eric.co.za

On September 13, 1989, prominent and charismatic Anglican cleric and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu led the largest anti-apartheid march in South Africa.

Known as the Cape Town peace march, about 30,000 multiracial protestors took to the streets of Cape Town disregarding a State of Emergency issued by the apartheid government banning political protests.

Supported by notable anti-apartheid activists including Rev Frank Chikane, Gordon Oliver, Moulana Farid Esack, Allan Boesak among others, the march was organized to protest against the apartheid government and segregation as well as demand the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.

The march yielded positive results with the apartheid government at that time headed by FW de Klerk becoming more willing to compromise. By 1990, Nelson Mandela, who had been in prison for 27 years was freed together with other political prisoners. The ban on the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid groups was also lifted and negotiations to officially end apartheid also began.

Though things have significantly changed 29 years down the line, South Africa, however, still faces issues very reminiscent of the apartheid era. Below are some of them:

Apartheid/ Segregation

Though apartheid is a thing of the past, issues pertaining to racism and segregation are somehow still prevalent. Believe it or not, there’s a whites-only town in South Africa known as Orania. Located along the Orange River in the dry Karoo region of Northern Cape Province, the town has been the subject of many discourses, both in Africa and abroad, particularly because of its apparent racial bias.

Residents of Orania town in South Africa — Photo via reddit.com

Additionally, cases of human rights abuses meted out on black South Africans is also widespread.

Land Appropriation

It is a well-known fact that white South Africans own quite a significant amount of land in the country as a result of centuries-long dispossession of native-owned lands. In an effort to bridge the racial wealth and property gap, the post-apartheid South African government over the course of time has made efforts to expropriate lands.

A South African woman working on a farm — Photo Credit: Australian Government

Though recent land expropriation reforms introduced by the government has received backlash from some white South Africans as well Donald Trump who seems to enjoy poking his nose into the affairs of other countries, President Cyril Ramaphosa remains adamant that is the right way to go.

A farm in South Africa — Photo Credit: sabreakingnews.co.za

Let’s see how things turn out.

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