enjoyed reading the column “We have not walked Madiba’s path” by Fanie du Toit (City Press, July 5 2015).
Regarding the very laudable improvements in interracial trust and a few concerns expressed about interracial attitudes in the article, perhaps it might enhance the institute’s strategic position if demographic statistics were provided. For example, if there are only 4.5 million whites out of a total population of about 51 million people, the opportunity for about 46 million people to encounter and interact closely with whites, as their fellow South Africans, may be somewhat limited.
Perhaps the “falling levels of support among white South Africans for ... redress” also needs to be seen in terms of the effects and dynamics of legislated change, and the very small population of whites.
The government’s extensive redress legislation has been enacted so conspicuously that there would appear to be less inclination for whites to be expected to contribute in greater ways to redress in “concrete and material” terms. One wonders what precisely is the “concrete and material” redress that is expected of whites.
Apparently, the black middle class now comprises about 6 million or 7 million people. It will be valuable to get more exact statistics for this.
Clearly, the new middle class is not only white. Furthermore, there are probably a substantial number of whites who fall within the lowest class of being poverty-stricken and unemployed. Some even live in squatter camps and are no longer protected by the injustice of apartheid job reservation.
On the other hand, the dynamic of upwardly mobile, previously disadvantaged people, propelled by the redress of affirmative action and BEE opportunities is adding to the rapid growth of the middle class.
It would be judicious, less self-interested and more empathetic for the South African middle class, black and white, to follow Madiba’s path and vision, and be willing “to walk with each other ... and to care for one another”, especially those poverty-stricken and unemployed South Africans.