Race And Class Structure Of South Africa Sociology

essay B

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The issue of race which sometimes could be looked on as ethnicity has habitually been a really problematic issue among bookmans, research workers and some scientists. Closely linked with this is the contention environing the issue of individuality which has been the cause of war and some other similar jobs in the yesteryear ; the consequence of which is apparent in today ‘s multicultural and multiethnic societies. In some parts of the universe, it is normally hard to sort a peculiar group of people or bind them down under a specific individuality. In many instances, individualities are normally sometimes related to place or hierarchy which can be linked to categorization in footings of high, in-between, low ; in some other instances nevertheless, this categorization which may be seen in different position, could be wide such as ‘rich ‘ and ‘poor ‘ classs. Racial and cultural categorizations have led to the construct of `ethclassA? with the aid of which options in group designation can be understood across all categories and cultural groups which is illustrated in the categorization rendered above. The treatment on race and category which has been up for many old ages and is still traveling on among research workers and pupils can be seen as the descriptions of history of different people in a peculiar country and misconception about race are no less prevalent now than they were many old ages ago. Stephen stated that “ from an evolutionary point of view it was apparent that the race relation rhythm was a cosmopolitan phenomenon ” ( Steinberg, 2001:2 ) .

The issue of race and category is an issue that has brought frontward struggle, favoritism and many more that has happened in so many states. In Burundi, it is the favoritism or categorization between the Hutus and the Tutsis ; in America, the categorization of black Americans and the white Americans and some other categorization included in America due to multiculturalism. In Germany, it is the categorization between the Jews, Turks and the typical Germans ; and in South Africa, it is the categorization and favoritism between the inkinesss and the white South Africans. If we take the instance of the Americans, it is seen that many people who are born in the USA and automatically are US citizens are still segregated from those who believe they are the chief citizen of the state due to history, offspring and line of descent. “ Race creates a A?group` merely when it is subjectively perceived as a common trait ” ( Weber, 1922:52 ) . These implies that in the US, it is glowering that race is nil new to bulk of the Americans it is normal to them and should be practiced and showed through an attitude or behavior towards who they do non like by manner of segregation. Weber make a claim that, the fact that several million mulattoes ( a individual with one black parent and one white parent ) in the United States speaks clearly opposed to the premise of occurrences between people of different races antipathy, even among rather different races ( ibid, 1922: 53 ) . The account of the jobs caused by race and category above will take me to my point of going and the focal point of my paper on the issue of race and category construction in South Africa

Race and Class Structure in South Africa

The topic of the topographic point and function of race, category and ethnicity has been at the focal point of treatment and deliberation about the character of the South African job and the schemes necessary to work out it ( Nengwekhulu, p.29 ) . South Africa being an African state is known to be a black state, which the bulk of its population should besides be black and so it should be for the bulk of the workers, non workers and likely the husbandmans because Africa is by and large known to be an agricultural continent. Therefore we can happen several people being husbandmans at the subsistence degree. In the wake of South Africa ‘s 1948 elections, as the Afrikaners who are the white minority in SA, National Party ( NP ) began implementing its apartheid policies on the bulk who are the inkinesss in SA. Inspired by spiritual mythology and legitimized by the Dutch Reformed Churches, Afrikaner patriotism controlled the State or the state of South Africa. These minority non-black swayers made and enforce series of regulations that dichotomized the bi-racial South African cultural landscape. These regulations affecting political, legal, and economic favoritism against non-whites are corporate called ‘apartheid ‘ . During the government of apartheid, there were a batch of favoritism, utilizing race and category construction as tools of subjugation and segregation. Part of the favoritism is racial categorization, racial domination and profiling between the white and black and non go forthing out the rich and hapless. The white are classified as the rich and the higher category people while inkinesss are seen as the lower category people and segregated from the Whites. During the apartheid government, the inkinesss were segregated from the white in footings of where they live and where they can populate, the sort of work they can make. The cultural inkinesss and the white swayers can non intermarry ; they can merely tie in in good defined and extremely limited scenarios or fortunes. The Whites are eligible to make merely the high paying and largely official and profitable responsibilities while the inkinesss are limited to those plants that are of course hard and with unprofitable and low incomes such as excavation and subsistence agriculture. In a clear statement, the inkinesss became foreigners in their ain state as a consequence of the apartheid revolution. “ With regard to racial equality, contrary to initial premises, inter-race income disparity remains a greater determiner of inequality than intra-race differences. In other words, the aggregative difference between White and colored, incomes is the dominant ground for South Africa ‘s inordinately high Gini coefficient ” ( Zain et al, 2009:7 ) . Couple with the quotation mark above, it is noted that the white ( Afrikaners ) ruled with apartheid revolution from 1961 to 1989 with the National Party ( NP ) before the African National Congress took over.

In a nutshell, it is worthy to observe that before the coming of the apartheid government in 1948, people of South Africa including the white colonists lived in harmoniousness. There were the normal occurrences between members of the same group, state or organisation and tribal warfare which is similar to those that happens in many other states of the universe but 1948 proved to be a polar point in the history of South Africa whereby the white minorities, chiefly the posterities of the anglo-dutch people that have been governing since the eighteenth century decided to present Torahs that favours cultural segregation, favoritism, racial categorization, racial domination and profiling and the general debut of category construction. The foregoing led Nengwekhulu to detect that “ the white racism and the articulation of racial consciousness by inkinesss can non therefore merely be ignored on the footing that they are look of false consciousness and epiphenomena of the economic base ” ( Nengwekhulu, p.29 ) . The strategy of “ expansive apartheid, ” which begun at that clip and lead to the delineated separate schooling, occupations, wage and topographic points to populate, and deprived most black Africans of citizenship in South Africa. Forgeting the fact that Africans has the monolithic and turning bulk in South Africa, while Whites are the minority ; national release at that place would intend a profound alteration in who ruled. Nengwekhulu, in his article, explicate further in the jobs faced by the South African people with the illustration that “ South African state of affairs and in explicating schemes for the riddance of black domination and development whilst harmonizing to both race and ethnicity a topographic point and function in this analysis and preparation of a scheme for black release and for societal alteration ” ( ibid, p.30 ) . In other words, we can state the affair of race, category and ethnicity is non merely of important theoretical but it is besides a affair of powerful political significance for it is on the footing of the declaration of this inquiry that the proper land work can be laid non merely for political schemes for the battle against black development but besides for the building of a hereafter South Africa. Race favoritism, bias and political orientation in South Africa are hence non what happens or what people do without seeking to alter anything or oppose them in basicss of whose being is determined automatically. They are nevertheless societal affair which is non to the full understood with a comparative liberty. For this ground, race favoritism and bias has ever existed between the inkinesss and white and the colors in South Africa now they interact with each other while keeping their individualities. The incidence of apartheid in South Africa from 1948 to 1994 could be linked in retrospect to a signifier of societal misnomer that is opposed to the classical signifier of Marxism. Marxism is based upon a materialist reading of history. Taking the thought that societal alteration occurs because of the battle between different categories and races within society who are under contradiction of one against the other. The Marxist analysis leads to the decision that capitalist economy, the presently dominant signifier of economic direction, leads to the subjugation of the labor as in the instance of the South African apartheid epoch, who non merely do up the bulk of the universe ‘s public but who besides spend their lives working for the benefit of the middle class, or the affluent opinion category in society. From the foregoing, I will try to research the Marxist ideals and how it could be extended to explicate the socio-economic dis-enfranchisation of the black bulk as it happened in the apartheid in South Africa.


The Marxist vision of society and history was presented in the 1848 “ Communist Manifesto ” in dramatic narrative signifier, chalk outing out the rise of capitalist economy and businessperson society and its radical overthrow by the industrial labor ( Harrington, 2005:154 ) . Harmonizing to Karl Marx, Marxism is as a doctrine of history twosome with an economic philosophy. He farther explains Marxism besides as a theory of revolution and the basic account for how societies go through the procedure of alteration ( Marx, P: 2 ) . He explains his thought by utilizing two rudimentss of thoughts that is in showing and explicating his thought of Marxism which they are MATERIALISM and CLASS STRUGGLE. By Materialism of Marxism, Marx aimed that the engine that drives society is the economic system. Economic forces are more complex and permeant than we thinkI? Harmonizing to Marx, they even find how we think: “ Consciousness is from the really get downing a societal merchandise ( Mazlish, 1984, p. 94 ) . That is, the manner at which people incorporate there things in when we talk about human stuff life forms every portion of worlds life including the most of import facets that could include general character of the societal, community, public, political, and religious or spiritual pattern of life. This could besides be that it does non hold to be that the well being of homo that can turn out the fact of their province of being but holding in head that the societal life of homo can besides be a determiner in their consciousness. By Class Struggle which is the thought that is applicable to the job of category construction in South Africa. “ Marxist analysis takes historical philistinism a measure farther. All of human history can be explained and predicted by the competition between counter economic categories, or as Marx put it, “ The history of all hitherto bing society is the history of category battles. ” In political footings, this means that the societal categories are viing in kernel for control of the state-or, as Marxists would set it: the category that controls the Mode of Production besides controls the State ” ( Marx, 1818-1883, P: 4 ) . The being of category battle that brought about the Marxist thought is applicable to the state of affairs of South Africa because South Africa in the clip of the apartheid authorities or swayer was one of the most horridly racist disposals during the clip of 20th century, a really obvious instance of the businessperson governing category suppressing the bulk labors ( Zain, 2009:8 ) . This struggle lead to the thought that societal alteration occur due to category and race job of favoritism between white and black South Africans.

The being of category battle which is one of the basic dogmas of Marxism as clearly apparent in the instance of South Africa “ sought to get the better of the tenet and reductionism of Stalinism and Trotskyism, to prosecute with history as a life procedure instead than a mechanical expression, to establish a historical consciousness associating local battles to planetary procedures, and engraft itself in a working-class motion which sought to command its ain fate, openly and democratically, instead than subjecting to the authorization of patriotism or pseudo-science ” ( Nash, 1999:66 ) . In other words, it can besides be noted that the government of the apartheid in South Africa in the seventiess can be seen as Western Marxism as portrayed in Douglas Kellner article. In footings of the Western Marxism, South Africa started with the acknowledgment in the thick of white pupils that are non among the societal force that could convey about advanced alteration into the state South Africa. “ In a planetary context, this coevals of South African Marxists played a critical function in construing for the Western left, in the footings of their ain idea, a battle which had come to be “ important to the whole history of our clip ” ” ( ibid: 1999:66, quoted in “ Sweezy and Magdoff, 1986 ) . In the analysis of Marx and Engels who are the writer of Marxism, cultural thoughts of a period service is ever to the comfort of the opinion category, supplying political orientations that justifiable the domination of category. They make analysis of “ Ideology ” clear uping it as a critical term for Marxian that describes how dominant thoughts of a opinion category promote the involvements of that category and assist dissemble subjugation, unfairnesss, and negative facets of the specific civilization, society or state. The debut of the apartheid in South Africa includes the above mentioned in the instance whereby most of the inkinesss were separated from the white. The inkinesss South Africans were go forthing in a topographic point where they can be classified as the lower category group and the white due to the sort of occupation and the topographic point they live are seen as the high category and that is what the system of the apartheid illustrate “ segregation ” . At every state of affairs in South Africa, white pupils or the white cultural group were in a batch of ways allowed to their sentiments and determinations on their ain different individualisms, with restriction that could make every bit ethical persons that has no populating history of battle to be identified with, which includes the relationship to their history.

Marxism as the political and economic theories of Karl Marx during the 1818 – 1883 that should give inside informations of the alterations, changes, alterations and developments in a peculiar society or state that is implanted by implementing socialism. The execution of socialism was supposed to be based on the belief that everyone has the same equal right in a state ‘s at which the authorities would hold to have and command the chief industries and non by private scenes. But in the instance of South Africa, the opinion system by the apartheid government was non for equal right or for the development of the alterations that were altered, but it brought differences between the black and the white which could be seen as racial dominant in South Africa. In other words, alternatively of the execution of socialism, the instance of South Africa led to capitalist economy. That is, alternatively of equal right as socialism represent ; it was a system at which South Africa state ‘s concerns and industry are controlled and run for net income by private proprietors ( the Afrikaners ( Whites ) ) which means “ I am non free to be unfastened to the other as a individual. I have to pull strings the other in such a manner as to obtain things. And to pull strings the other I have to pull strings myself ” ( Wolpe, 1980:21 ) . In other words, capitalist economy did non fundamentally take advantage of human existences whose implicit in individuality or personality was left otherwise apathetic by their experience of category misdirection. The government of apartheid which is that patterns of Capitalism in South African can be viewed as the focussed and attending to the relationship between the state ‘s economic system and its civil order, specifically on the relationship between category and race to construct differences, racial capitalist economy and segregation between the working category people and the lower category people and South Africa being an Africa and a black state at big which was ruled by the white authorities who came up with the system of apartheid which was viewed as “ racial domination ” .

Therefore, the Marxism political orientation is used to analyse the state of affairs that occurred in the 1970s to 1980s boulder clay the terminal of apartheid in 1994 in South Africa. This is because when the white ( the Germans, Gallic, Irish and the British ) who are known at the long tally as the Afrikaners because of their manner of life, and due to believes and civilization and besides that the Afrikaners view themselves as Africans and non as white people. They brought churches and believe into South Africa and because of the civilization and believe they brought, these made the chief South Africa people to believe in them and be rest assured of their words and whatever they promised of making. Even though they are seen as the minority, they still have chief parts to what is go oning in the state and to the Department of State and don’ts in South Africa. With these heads of the Afrikanders, they created a political party that promised the people and the cultural South Africans as a consequence of their trusts and basic cultural beliefs and political orientations allowed the white Afrikaans to hold their ways. Part of the run during the election was the debut of Apartheid which was introduced in 1948 to be practiced. Thereafter they implemented series of Torahs that promises a batch as the political orientation portrays which is supposed to be for “ socialism ” but alternatively lead to segregation of the white and the inkinesss in South Africa. The thought of Marxism is to make equal right for everyone in the state while the authorities entirely rule the state at which the Marxist theory is implemented. On the reverse in an unfortunate mode, most of the states at which the Marxist theory was implemented did non last with the Marxist theory due to the incorrect execution of the theory. “ The inquiry of the topographic point, function and relationship of race, category and ethnicity is non merely of important theoretical significance but it is besides a affair of powerful political significance ” ( Nengwekhulu, P: 30 ) . The white South Africa ‘s used the apartheid and the execution of Marxism which they promised during the runs to get economic advantages and these economic advantages they ne’er want to lose for any ground because it is of a great impact to their racialist government. A similar happening in some other states has led to serious results. If we take the instance in France during the eighteenth century, the patterns of subjugation lead to war between the businessperson and the labors. In their instance, the businessperson are the upper category people, the opinion category, and affluent people while the labors are the on the job category people. Therefore because the businessperson are the governing category, they believe in power and used their power in distinction and segregation between the working and the opinion category which subsequently lead to war. As a consequence of these in South Africa, equal right as the theory portrays, the white goes to different schools, live in a separate environment, work in separate topographic point and they have no say in what is traveling on within the state. The apartheid authorities isolate and maintain apart the instruction, wellness attention, and other community services, thereby do available black people with lower services compare to those of white people. Apartheid and the non-implementation of the true dogmas of Marxism, led to deep category division between races and categories in South Africa failed because theirs was an oppressive signifier of authorities that put category cuneuss between different races and categories in the state. The race, category and separation of the white from the black in South Africa finally lead to the battle of category and race construction. In the mode, the black South Africans battle for their race and category.

The black South Africans during the racialist government in the 1970s to the 1980s which was the apartheid government, after being promised a batch but alternatively was initiated with differences, ill-treatment and segregation lost trust in the National Party ( NP ) people and had to fight for their right which is equal right for everyone. In other words, non execution of the true ideals of Marxism led to deep divide between the races and categories of people in South Africa. Nowadays, since 1994 onwards, we have a sequence of authoritiess that tries to pattern equality among the disparate genders and categories of South Africa. The issue of racial favoritism and ethno-centric profiling has been reduced to the barest lower limit. Peoples are no longer hounded or massacred when they demand for their rights under the moralss citizenship as opposed to what happened in the Sharpeville slaughter of the 1950 ‘s. Although we still have to a quite subliminal degree the issue of category relating to the economic state of affairss of the different categories of South Africans but the same is what is go oning in many other states that patterns loose signifier of Marxism laced with high doses of Socialism such as the instance of South Africa. It still remains a extremely agricultural state but in the general instance, it is no longer at the subsistence degree. The labors that are majorly involved in the excavation concern now have a hearty sense of belonging. Racial integration of South Africa has brought about common economic emancipation to the hitherto different categories of people as people that use to ab initio experience disenfranchised in their fatherland now seems to hold enhanced sense of belonging.

The state still have its normal job of offense, intrinsic economic instabilities, use of governmental policies and general increased in consciousness among the public of the lethargy of their economic thrust, but the same tendency is being witnessed in several other developing states that are in-between ranked in the commission of states such as South Africa. No longer do we hold issues that relate to economic languor provoked by racial disparities and cultural favoritism. South Africa in subsequent old ages as a state is still seeking to disassociate from the lassitude and scariness harbingered by the Apartheid epoch but we now have in the state peace occasioned by sense of belonging.

The general feelings in South Africa now are revealed through one of the addresss of Nelson Mandela after voting in the first South African democratic election and took the office in 1994, which initiates a new government. Now we moved from a government of uncertainty, separation, limited chances, upset and struggle. In other word, a new epoch is get downing to give hope, declaration and to construct the state. Thus a genuinely dramatis personae of elector consequences will give chance to all the South Africans and do them recognize the state is theirs and they are one state.

The address therefore goes that the cardinal demands of bulk of the citizens will be talked, such as the proviso for employment, adjustment, and the induction of power supply. Including the buildings “ of schools and infirmaries, supplying free, mandatory quality instruction, running H2O, paved roads ” ( Natal, 1994 ) saying that these are their chief concern which includes the minorities the white ( Afrikaners ) . He made clear citizens should hold assurance besides that there would be security to those who are bothered that by these transmutations and revolutions, which might non be of benefit or betterment to them. “ I once more repeat that I have throughout my life as I pointed out in the Rivonia Trial: I have fought really steadfastly against white domination. I have fought really steadfastly against black domination. I cherish the thought of a new South Africa where all South Africans are equal and work together to convey about security, peace and democracy in our state. I unfeignedly hope that the mass media will utilize its powerful place to guarantee that democracy is installed in this state ” ( ibid: 1994 ) . Since this historic address at Inanda, Kwazulu Natal in April 1994, South Africa has continued to turn in springs and bounds albeit with the normal jobs that a budding and genuinely developing state might see. From the foregoing, it could be inferred that any state that intermarry the basic dogmas of the proletariat Marxism with democratic ideals may really good harvest the benefits. However, the patterns of these ideals must be in sync with true regard for the basic and cardinal rights of the people. No state may be able to travel forwards if these ideals are violated.

In many other states of the universe such as Iran in 1979, Russia in 1917 and France in 1789-1799, ruler ships by dictators and maximal swayers were done off with due to their well documented deficiency of attention for the demands of the labors and the multitudes in their charge. In these states, the initial deep chasm between the swayers and the labors were really good abridged due to debut of category and cultural declassification. So besides in South Africa, the addition of racial declassification since 1994 and the debut of about a egalitarian society is still unfolding and times will be able to demo if genuinely the new tendency could be maintained good into the hereafter and if it will truly go on to profit the full people of South Africa.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member