ethnicity :: hate is a global issue
|Working past apartheid|
Humans have the ability to forgive actions against themselves, but rarely
do they forget them.
While South Africa's apartheid regime officially ended in 1990, feelings
of resentment between black Africans and white Afrikaners still linger.
Rose Smouse, a 32-year-old South African native and graduate student
at the University of Florida, said she resents her Afrikaner peers at
times due to the economic advantages they gained from apartheid for simple
things such as buying an automobile.
"They don't know what it means to buy your first car yourself,"
Smouse said. "For them, they have a car before they can even drive.
Sometimes we [Africans] do resent them, although it's not their fault."
Smouse said her husband holds stronger feelings of resentment because
of his own experiences.
"He was studying in middle school in 1976 during the Soweto uprisings,"
Smouse said. "He won't trust any white person [in South Africa] until
they prove that they are worth being trusted."
Smouse said South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994 raised
her spirits because of being able to vote for the first time in her life.
At that point, Africans had the ability to dictate their own future.
With Mandela's victory in 1994, South Africa's first black president
constructed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to identify violators
of human rights during the apartheid years. This offered individuals safety
from prosecution for "any act, omission or offense associated with
a political objective committed between 1 March 1960 and 6 December 1993,"
according to the Commission's official Web site.
Hunt Davis, a University of Florida professor emeritus of history who
specializes in South African history, said the Commission's amnesty provision
proved necessary because Mandela did not overthrow the South African government,
he negotiated with it to abolish apartheid. People had to be forgiven
for the government to continue functioning well.
One specific incident Davis recalled from his stay in South Africa in
1996 showed how far South Africa had progressed from its apartheid years.
"When I went back in 1996 and sat in Parliament in the gallery, it was really remarkable seeing people on one side of the aisle who had put people on the other side of the aisle in prison," Davis said. "Now, they're sitting there debating."
Now, Africans and Afrikaners inhabit South Africa as equals with equal