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by Ajani Husbands
Updated 9-19-2004

Timeline of Apartheid
Nelson Mandela
Steve Biko
After 10 Years of Democracy

Ten years after the fall of apartheid and the rise of democracy, where is South Africa at today?  Although there have been many improvements, there have also been many noticeable negations in improvement.

Since apartheid, the average income of white households has risen by 15.8%, yet the average income of Black households has fallen by 18.8% (Labor Force Survey Statistics, South Africa).  Also, while 6.2% of the white population is infected with HIV/AIDS, more than 12.9% of the Black population is HIV positive (Nelson Mandela Study, 2002).   This set of data is also coupled with the fact that the current South African president, Thabo Mbeki, has denied that there is any link between HIV and AIDS.  With these types of facts, it is evident to see that South Africa has a long way to go in terms of creating a more racially harmonious society.

What more can be done though?  Perhaps South Africa has reached such a racial and economic disparity that there can be no retribution for the wrongs of apartheid.  This type of thinking, however, would only add to the prevailing stereotype that today's youth are apathetic and non-proactive to the issues at hand. 

While here in South Africa, we have found much evidence to the contrary.  We have been able to interact with groups such as Love Life, the Amy Biehl Foundation, and many more youth-led organizations that are taking the initiative to bridge the residual gaps of apartheid.  Perhaps it is best to look for change from the grassroots end, change that will eventually force the status quo to a higher standard, towards a more equal society in South Africa.