By BBC World Service International Publicity
Published August 28, 2012
South Africa’s race relations are the focus of the August 2012c edition of BBC Africa Debate. Titled “South Africa @18: Does ‘black and white’ still matter in the Rainbow Nation?”, the monthly programme will be presented by the BBC’s Audrey Brown and Karen Allen from South Africa’s commercial capital, Johannesburg, on Friday, August 31, 2012, with a panel of four 18-year-old South Africans.
South Africa marked the 18th anniversary of its first multi-racial elections heralding the birth of Nelson Mandela’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ on April 27, 2012. This 18th year of freedom also marks the coming of age of the first South African citizens to be born after the end of the racist Apartheid regime. These teenagers are now able to vote for the first time.
South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world, racially as well as ethnically. It is also one of the most unequal societies in the world. Its inequalities correlate with race and concern is growing that this socioeconomic imbalance is increasingly threatening the country’s stability.
According to the South African Institute of Race Relations, per capita personal income among white South Africans is nearly eight times higher than that of the country’s black citizens.” 29% of black South Africans are unemployed compared with 5.9% of their white compatriots.
President Jacob Zuma has called for greater state involvement in mining and land ownership to address inequalities inherited from apartheid – which he said pose a “grave threat” to Africa’s biggest economy.” Nobel Peace Laureate and the last Apartheid South African president, Frederik Willem de Klerk, has warned about new racism in South Africa.” He said the governing ANC’s rhetoric was increasingly becoming hostile to white South Africans and that the ANC is using racism as a ‘smokescreen’, to hide its failures.
South Africans were shocked when 34 striking mine workers were shot dead by police during protests over wages in August 2012. The incident highlighted the growing frustration by South Africa’s workers with poverty, unemployment and inequality.
BBC Africa Debate Senior Producer Rachael Akidi says: “As South Africa is living its ‘dulthood’, we have put four ‘born frees’ – children born in the new South Africa at the centre of our debate, on the panel.” How does their experience of growing up in the new South Africa reflect the state of race relations in the country? Does ‘black and white’ still matter in the Rainbow Nation? We want to know whether race relations in South Africa have improved over the last 18 years.”
Presenters Brown and Allen will be talking to the panel and an invited audience including politicians, government representatives, policy makers, trade unionists, business representatives, academics, students and media executives.
This edition of BBC Africa Debate will be recorded on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 10am local time in Chalsty Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.” It will be broadcast by BBC World Service at 19.00 GMT on the same day. The programme will be repeated on Sunday 2 September at 13.00 GMT.” The debate will also be online at bbcafrica.com, on Twitter #bbcafricadebate, #bbcafrica, on Facebook and Google+ on the BBCAfrica page.
Each edition of BBC Africa Debate is broadcast from a different location in Africa.