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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - SALDRU Working Paper No. 233
Title Identity, inequality and social contestation in the Post-Apartheid South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2018
This paper examines contestations in the South African society - its past, present and future. It provides historical accounts of formation of ethnic and race identities; and offers some evidence that South Africans became less exclusive of people in other race groups during the early years of postApartheid period but have reversed this accomplishment over the last ten years. The paper then holistically examines inequality in the post-apartheid period; namely, at national level, between and within ethnic and race groups, and measured by income and by self-assessment of an individual’s life satisfaction. Using the frequency of and desire for interracial social interactions as an indicator of exclusiveness or inclusiveness of racial identities in South Africa, the paper finds positive correlation between the exclusiveness of racial identify on one hand and inequalities of the level of life satisfaction within and between race groups. It identifies “inequality hot spots” on this basis, which need to be addressed if a more cohesive society is to be nurtured in the country. Finally, the paper finds tentative signs of the emergence of a common citizenry, a national identity, which would also be needed for South Africa to transition to a cohesive society.

Related studies

Hino, Hiroyuki, Murray Leibbrandt, Ratjomose Machema, Muna Shifa , and Crain Soudien. "Identity, inequality and social contestation in the Post-Apartheid South Africa." SALDRU Working Paper No. 233 (2018).
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town