Poverty among the Black South Africans

poverty-among-black-south-africans South Africa is a country with mixed races, although the majority of the people are blacks. The history of the living standards of people in the country is complex, as, over time, there have been various forms of injustices that have been done to the country, especially during the time of Apartheid. With the end of the regime, Nelson Mandela became the leader of the nation and was tasked with ensuring equality as well as improving the living standards of people in the country. The white people in the country who are of European ancestry have been noted to possess more resources than the Bantu-speaking communities despite a massive disparity in the population. More and more efforts have been directed towards liberating the black people from the ails that they have been facing over time, but then there hasn’t been enough progress (Simkins, 2011). Different governments have been in power, and they have all not done enough to end poverty and increase access to resources for the people. There are various reasons that have made this possible, and also, there are policies that have been adopted to address this although their success is not much evident.

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There are various reasons why black South Africans experience more poverty and have access to fewer resources than white South Africans. The first reason that has made this possible is the difference in the education system for the white and black South Africans. Historically, white south Africans schooled in the most elite schools in the country that had the best education and resources. Most of the black people were not allowed in such schools and thus did not get the proper training to help them have an excellent academic foundation. The second aspect is that the white minority owned most of the resources of the country. They have vast tracts of land compared to the black people who have little or no land and thus are not able to practice the right agriculture. This leads to an increase in the poverty rates of the country (Abdulrazak and Hoskins, 2016). Thirdly, dependency syndrome has also made it possible for the black population to remain poor. The colonial apartheid denied the people the basics in the society, such as good roads and good healthcare, and thus made the people vulnerable and much dependent on aid from the same oppressors. This has made it impossible for most black South Africans to get out of poverty and access resources.

The ruling party ANC has had in place various policies that are aimed at reducing the poverty rates in the country and ensure that the black population has access to resources. The first policy is the land redistribution. According to the government, there are considerations of expropriation without compensation to allow the black community also have land to practice agriculture (Themepla and Hall, 2018). Another strategy that has been widely used in this reformation is increasing the accessibility of a number of basic needs for the people. There are many schools that have built to bolster the number of black people that enroll in education. Many health facilities well equipped have been put up to ensure that people are able to get the right healthcare. The development of infrastructure has also helped open up various areas and eased transportation of goods and people from one area to another. Increasing the number of black people in the civil service by the administration of President Zuma has helped many people earn a living and lead a decent life.

Most of these policies have helped people get a better life. There is a considerable number of black South Africans that have completed their education up to the highest levels. Literacy levels have increased in the country. The health care has also improved the health of the people despite the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has been threatening the livelihood of the people. The land question still remains a problem because there are still many landless people in South Africa, and also the minority white population is in control of land and other resources in the country (Nattrass, 2017). I think that the ANC should adopt policies to redistribute land without compensating white owners. Most of the land was obtained illegally, and thus there should be no need to follow a legal process in returning to people what belongs to them. The government can repossess the land but ensure that this is done in a fair manner that does not include taking away land that was bought by the white settlers.

The people of South Africa are faced with many problems that are yet to be over even after many years since the Apartheid rule came to an end. The governments that have been in power have not adequately addressed the problems that the black South Africans are facing, and this has led to increasing in poverty as it can be seen with the high number of people in informal settlements or slums. The land issue is contentious and should be approached with great keenness. There is also a need to institute various policies that will ensure that land is distributed well to ensure that every South African has a piece of land where he or she can practice agriculture. The ANC has the role of giving people the hopes they had at the time that the country was gaining its independence.


Abdulrazak Karriem & Mark Hoskins (2016) From the RDP to the NDP: A Critical Appraisal of the Developmental State, Land Reform, and Rural Development in South Africa, Politikon, 43:3, 325-343, DOI: 10.1080/02589346.2016.1160858 Nattrass, Gail. A short history of South Africa. Biteback Publishing, 2017.

Simkins, Charles. "Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy: South African Disparities." Journal of Democracy 22.3 (2011): 105-119.

Thembela Kepe & Ruth Hall (2018) Land Redistribution in South Africa: Towards Decolonization or Recolonisation?, Politikon, 45:1, 128-137, DOI: 10.1080/02589346.2018.1418218

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