Essay Example: Contemporary Social and Political Issues in South Africa

Published: 2023-04-09
Essay Example: Contemporary Social and Political Issues in South Africa
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Politics Culture World Art
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1840 words
16 min read

South Africa has a rich history in terms of people's diversity of people and the events that have happened over the years. The history of South Africa can be traced back to 100 years ago, when the first inhabitants are believed to have migrated to South Africa (Saunders, 2010). Many events happened after the immigrants reached South Africa. The inhabitants of South Africa have strong cultural beliefs, but cultural beliefs have been influenced by Western culture. The communities that migrated to South Africa include Khoisan, Afrikaners, and the Bantu (Saunders, 2010). The communities settled in different parts of South Africa, where they practiced farming as their main agricultural activity. Most of the communities lived on river banks for easy access to agricultural water.

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The economic activities of the South African communities began to change in the nineteenth century when minerals were discovered and the invasion by foreigners. The foreigners bought the minerals and exported them to different parts of the world (Saunders, 2010). The invasion of the foreigners caused conflicts between the local communities and foreigners that wanted to occupy the land and take away the raw materials. Different social groups began to be formed between the miners and the farmers that practiced agriculture, among the foreigners that occupied South Africa includes the British that began to occupy South Africa in 1795. There were conflicts between the locals and the foreigners over resources where the South African people wanted the freedom to control their resources.

There are different political events that have happened in South Africa over the years. Political transformations in South Africa can be traced in the nineteenth century when foreigners invaded South Africa and attempted and influenced the political systems in South Africa (Neocosmos, Suttner, & Taylor, 2002). The foreign political influence affected the lives of the South African people, where they wanted to dominate and take resources from the South African people. The Dutch colonized South Africa in 1795 and acquired political power and ruled the native South African people (Saunders, 2010). The Dutch leadership was mainly focused on taking resources from the local people, such as mineral and land. The local people were denied the opportunity to continue with their normal lives. The South African people were forced to work for the Dutch colonizers.

People began resisting the invasion by foreigners by organizing strikes to resist foreign rule. The Dutch formed formal government to represent the people, but there were no locals that represented South Africans in the government formed by the Dutch (Saunders, 2010). There were other foreigners that moved to South Africa and settled in different regions of South Africa. The local people continued fighting for their rights until late 1994 when the people finally gained independence. Among the most notable figures of the fight for freedom include Nelson Mandela, who led the people in fighting for freedom. Mandela was imprisoned for twenty-seven years by the colonial rule. He was later released and became the president of South Africa for one term.

South African history reflects the current happenings, where people feel that there are no equal opportunities because of the inequalities that they have experienced over the years. Different communities live in South Africa with different cultures hence the differences. The indigenous native South Africans still complain of the inequalities that exist. There were changes in democracy and inequality between the periods of apartheid and post-apartheid periods (Lundahl & Petersson, 2013). During the apartheid period, democracy among the native South Africans was undermined while in the post-apartheid period; the people were allowed to organize and participate in democratic activities. The changes were part of the agreement to grant freedom to the South African people.

South Africa is rich in artistic work that represented the culture of the people and various things that affected the people. The art represents the identity of the people where specific cultures were represented (Lundahl & Petersson, 2013). Among the art made include drawing and painting of figures that were leading the people to represent the political figures that led the people in the fight for political freedom. The people used art drawings and paintings to unite the people under one leadership during the struggle for freedom. The drawings and paintings of nelson Mandela picture are among the most notable artwork that was used when Mandela was in prison.

Southern African art was also seen where the people used different kinds of art to preserve major events that had happened to the community. The major events that happened include drought and famine, significant disasters, including floors and other events that affected the people (Lundahl & Petersson, 2013). The people stored the information regarding the events to use the art materials as reading materials for next and future generations. There were no books and writing materials; hence the drawings were done on stones and woods. The images and paintings were drawn by special people in the community who had drawing skills for making good images.

There are social, economic, and political transformations that have happened in South Africa post-apartheid. The social changes that have happened post-apartheid include people of different races being allowed to interact, which was not the case during apartheid. During the apartheid period, the native South Africans were denied the right to interact and form relationships with any person that they want (Lundahl & Petersson, 2013). For instance, black children were not allowed to join schools that were created for the whites. The discrimination based on race was mainly done to ensure that Africans got worse services from the colonial government. Post-apartheid was characterized by increased freedoms where people interacted and learned in any school of their choice.

Laws were also changed to allow the local people to engage in economic activities that were initially considered and prohibited to Europeans only. The Europeans were initially controlled major economic activities such as mining, denying the locals the opportunity to exploit resources and engage in work such as commercial cash crops growing (Saunders, 2010). The post-apartheid period comes with equality, where Africans began engaging in business activities that improved the quality of life of the people. There were cash crops that were only limited to the Europeans, such as coffee, the economic empowerment of the South Africans reduced the poverty levels among the people. The challenge that existed is that the colonialists still owned the fertile farms, denying locals the opportunity to utilize the opportunities.

The post-apartheid period had some changes that the local people were advocating form when compared to the apartheid period that had a lot of violence between the locals and whites. The violence had a role to play in shaping the relations of people of different races in South Africa. Up to date, there are challenges where the locals view foreigners as the people taking their opportunities and denying the local the opportunities. The local people began to have opportunities for representing the local as elected people in parliament and make laws that concern the black community.

There are organizations formed to enhance the partnership between the local community, such as the youths and political leaders, that ensure that the people do not feel excluded. The partnership identifies the main challenges that are affecting the people and identifies the solution that is most applicable to the given scenario (Lundahl & Petersson, 2013). The areas of the partnership included education to empower the youth with skills that could enable them to perform the tasks that require expertise. The organizations aimed at ensuring the local youths were empowered to perform their work. The native South Africans were discriminated against by the colonial regime in terms of empowerment by improving the skills of the people.

During the apartheid era, many artists played a critical role in resisting apartheid. One of the remarkable artists who used art to fight apartheid was David Koloane. He was a teacher, painter, activist as well as an organizer of interracial art centers. Through his art, he fought for the right for individuals to define themselves as well as determine their future. Artists produced work that had a powerful message regarding the injustices of white minority rule (Kurtz, 2010).

Some artists were in the opposition and whose work was aimed at mobilizing people. Some of these works required advanced understanding since they referred to other artistic works (Kurtz, 2010). Some artistic works were political, but they were not exhibited for fear of prosecution. Other artists believed that art should serve both political and social purposes. Some of these artists were Thami Mynelw and Omar Badsha. This artist, however, did the contrary as they produced arts that were openly beyond political.

Films and other forms of art were produced during the post-apartheid era. The black south African people were traumatized. One of the films produced after the apartheid era was Zulu Love letter, which was set in 1196. In1994, an election was conducted, and Nelson Mandela because of the leader of South Africa. The Zulu Love Letter was about an assassination that had taken place thirteen years ago. Dineo was a black girl who was determined to bring change in her country. In the fiction story, Thadeka was the main character as she was a black journalist who witnessed and reported the crime (Kurtz, 2010). She was put in prison for five months, where she was brutally beaten despite being pregnant. The beatings affected the pregnancy as she gave birth to a child who was deaf and dumb.

Thadeka was tormented even after the apartheid era and was filled with guilt and grief. Thadeka was requested by Dineo's mother to find Dineo's body so that she could give her a decent send-off. Thadeka, however, had first to find out who killed Dineo, and the endeavor was extremely risky because the possible killers were people who were influential and who were believed to be filled with malice. Such a story shows the problems that people experienced during the apartheid era, including assassination. The black people had no power, so they were brutally beaten and even killed. The apartheid rule promoted segregation of the South African people based on their race. People of different races were required to live separately, and some laws helped in ensuring that segregation was abided by (Kurtz 2010). Activists who fought racial segregation risked their lives as they were assassinated, and even their bodies could not be found. It is only through art that the plight of South Africans during the apartheid era could be addressed.

During apartheid, art was openly political, but he significantly changed after the end of the apartheid era. The government tolerated the art, although there was some harassment. This is because the artists played safe by not directly spreading propaganda against the government. The ANC party acknowledged that the artists needed to be supported since they did not propagate for apartheid segregation (Kurtz, 2010). Thupelo, which was a series of artist' workshops, was deemed as a group that was propagating for the American imperialists' interests, but this was not true.

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