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Mandela's walk to freedom remembered: South Africa still suffering effects of Apartheid


Nelson Mandela-1.jpg

By Gouri Sharma

It could take South Africans another two generations to release themselves from the inferiority complex acquired during decades of Apartheid.

Expert panelists at a Frontline Club event to mark 20 years since Nelson Mandela's release from prison spoke of the psychlogical and social problems still affecting the nation, despite the hope and unity the president brought South Africa. 

John Battersby, UK country manager of the International Marketing Council, said: “South Africa and the world have totally underestimated what 40 years of apartheid did for the self esteem of black people and of white people... in terms of the human psyche.”

He said that lack of self-esteem could be to blame for the xenophobic riots in May 2008:


People that have come to South Africa are smarter, more educated and more liberated than South Africans and that poses a threat to people.. the psyche takes a long time to come round because of the mindset instituted during apartheid.. which was designed to make people feel inferior


Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential website, spoke of a “post Apartheid cultural re-awakening”, which the government can’t be seen to be clamping down on for fear of being accused of oppressing culture.

But he added: ”South Africa is one of the few African societies that has an industrial base... Therefore there is an industrial working class which enables political organisations to be based on class interest and ideological ones and I think political debate is still framed around that.”

For Gibril Faal, Chairman, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), there needed to be a “pluralistic approach to subtle checks and balances in emerging nation states, (which) to a great extent South Africa still is.

"In South Africa there was a one-off truth and reconciliation process and in some ways that needs to be an ongoing process because it allows for things to be aired and dealt with.”

Alec Russell, World News editor of the Financial Times said the legacy of Apartheid legacy was "appalling" but stressed that the ANC has now been in power for 15 years and both "the ANC and people in the ANC admit they have not been (acting) as they should have in delivering."