Buried in a recent report from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, is an indication that the media and educational inisitutions have largely failed in brainwashing white South Africans about the country’s past. A majority of whites (54,3%) disagree with the statement that “many black South Africans are poor today as a result of apartheid’s legacy”. A significant proportion of whites (37,7%) disagree that “apartheid was a crime against humanity”.
Table 23 summarises youth and adult agreement (across historically defined race groups) with three historical truths about the nature and legacy of apartheid.
According to Kim Wale, author of the 2013 SA Reconciliation Barometer Survey, “It is positive to note that across these three questions South Africans report high agreement with historical truths, but it is concerning to note that white South Africans are much less likely to agree with the rest of South Africa. Youth are slightly more likely than adults to agree with historical truths by 3–4%. In terms of the statement that apartheid was a crime against humanity, 76.4% of South Africans agree, but only 52.8% of white South Africans agree compared to 70.4% coloured, 77.1% Indian/Asian and 80.9% black South Africans who agree with this statement. In terms of the statement that the apartheid government wrongly oppressed the majority of South Africans, about half of white South Africans agree with this statement and almost 40% disagree compared to 72.1% of South Africans who agree and 23.7% who disagree with it.
She went on to say: “When South Africans are asked whether they agree that many black South Africans are still poor today because of the lasting effects of apartheid, almost 70% agree that the poverty of the present is linked to the injustice of the past. However, less than half as many white South Africans agree (33.4%) with this statement. White youth are 5.6% more likely than white adults to agree with this statement which provides some hope that the younger generation of white South Africans may recognise the effects of the past on the poverty of the present. This is important as if South Africans do not agree on the connection between economic exclusion and our historical legacy, they are not likely to agree with the need to address that legacy.”
White resistance to affirmative action in South Africa is growing, especially amid widespread reports of government corruption and the ostentatious lifestyle of the country’s politically connected black elite. – praag.org and IJR report