Is Racism Still a Reality in South Africa?

Fredrick Ngugi May 24, 2016
Black South Africans protest white supremacy in the country. Photo (

After decades of apartheid, South Africans were happy to close that dark chapter in 1994 when the late Nelson Mandela assumed the reins of power as the first black President of South Africa. Even the international community breathed a sigh of relief thinking that racially-motivated hate was finally over.

But is racism really over in South Africa? According to Genocide Watch, there still exists a coordinated campaign of genocide conducted against white farmers, locally referred to as “Boers.”

More than 22 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa, racist chants like ‘shoot the farmer, kill the Boer,’ are still very common, especially in political rallies during election campaigns.

Many white South Africans have accused the ruling party, ANC, of using anti-white rhetoric for political capital. They say the party accuses the opposition of being anti-black to lure more black supporters.

Black South Africans also accuse the whites of racial discrimination, arguing that the white population still dominates lucrative sectors such as agriculture, mining, and banking. Others complain that white people in South Africa still earn more than five times what blacks do.

In January this year, the rainbow country degenerated into a racist pit following the death of two black men who were allegedly killed by white farmers as they confronted one of the farmers for overdue wages.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Qokotha, mother to one of the slain black men, said:

The whites think they can do anything here. It’s still apartheid.

Still in January, a white South African lady, Penny Sparrow, sparked social media outrage after she allegedly posted a racist post on her Facebook page calling black beach goers ‘monkeys’.

Here is Penny Sparrow’s ‘racist’ Facebook Post as quoted by News24:

These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Years Eve and New Years Day on to public beaches, towns, etc., obviously have no education whatsoever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others. I’m sorry to say I was amongst the revelers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try. But think they can voice opinions about statute and get their way dear oh dear. From now I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same pick drop and litter.

Sparrow, who is a real estate agent in South Africa, has since apologized saying her post was not meant to be a personal insult to anyone.

I did not mean it to be a personal insult to anyone. If you read it properly you would have seen I’m not Racial, in fact I help underprivileged people of all races. Please accept my apology I certainly didn’t mean to anger you,” she posted on Facebook.

A concerned Twitter user-@De_Laste_K said:

‏@TheBestMalcolm posted:

‏@Josephhlabisa said:

ANC has filed a case at the Equality Court accusing Sparrow of hate speech. The court has already issued an order for Penny Sparrow to be served with the court’s action documents, pending hearing.

On Monday, a Pretoria High Court Judge, Mabel Jansen (white), sparked another racism row after she allegedly claimed ‘rape is part of black culture’.

Justice Mabel Jansen was discussing, on Facebook, with a social activist Gillian Schutte about the treatment of women by black men, when she purportedly stated that, In their culture (black culture) a woman is there to pleasure them, period. I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.”

The judge has however refuted the racist claims saying her comments were taken out of context.

“What I stated confidentially to somebody in a position to help has been taken completely out of context and referred to specific court cases,” Justice Mabel said on Twitter.

These incidents may be coincidental but still portray a country that is yet to reconcile. It’s a clear indication of how far South Africa has to go to recover from apartheid.  

Last Edited by:iboateng Updated: May 24, 2016


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