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Englisch Essay zum Thema "South Africa"

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Essay: South Africa

South Africa – suffering from a long conflict-ridden history -has become the most socially and economically developed country in Africa but has to deal with a growing imbalance in society and an increasing number of curruption and crime.

South Africa’s history has long time been marked by the conflict between the white minority and the black majority which culminated in the apartheid system, a policy of racial segregation which existed from 1948 to 1994. The word apartheid is of Dutch origin and means ‘segregation’ or ‘being apart’.
It started with the settlement of the Dutch in the 17th century and was later taken over by British colonialists who introduced a series of laws which reduced the rights of Blacks, Coloureds and Asians. They also established the territorial segregation or so-called ‘homeland policy’ which forced Black citizens to live in restricted areas.
When the National Party won the elections in 1948 they occupied the political and economical power and expanded the discriminations by passing further laws.

Non-whites where not allowed to vote or to own land and there were also a series of laws which prohibited social contact between the races. Besides mixed-marriages non-whites weren’t allowed to enter the same schools, universities, hospitals or even parks as whites and they also weren’t allowed to live in or even visit a white town without permission. This aspect of apartheid which concerned the regulations in daily life was called Petty Apatheid while the nation-wide segregation or homeland policy was referred to as Grand Apartheid. In gerneral the towns of the white population were located in geographically and economically favoured areas whereas the homalands or townships of Blacks were in unproductive or remote areas.

Because of this oppression many people left the country and spent the time of apartheid in exile. It also led to the foundation of several resistance movements and parties which fought for full citizenship and parlamentary representation for all South Africans.
The ANC (African National Congress) was one of the most influencial organizations which attraced thousands of Blacks and organized boycotts and strikes.

While the ANC was initially commited to non-violent struggle there were also more violent organizations like the PAC. As a result of the Sharpeville massacre the ANC also formed an armed wing, called Spear of the Nation, led by Nelson Mandela, one of the most significant figures in the anti-apartheid movement . There they prepared sabotage campaigns against military and government targets. Consequently the government banned both the ANC and the PAC and Nelson Mandela was sent to prison.

In the 1960 the Black Consciousness Movement and its most popular leader Steve Biko promoted a new self-conciousness among Blacks to make them rely on their own values and reject the superior White of European culture. In the following time the armed resistance increased and hundreds of Blacks were killed by the police but it also affected the economy which was furthermore weakend by international sanctions. The United Nations regarded aparheid as crimes against humanity and an international campain demanded the boycott of South African fruits.
Due to this growing international and internal pressure and the new-elected state president Frederic de Klerk the first discriminatory laws were abolished.
De Klerk oredered the ending of the ban on the ANC and the PAC and released political prisoners, among others Nelson Mandela.
In 1994 the first democratis elections of South Africa were held where the ANC won the majority and Nelson Mandela became the country’s first Black state president. De Klerk and Mandela were later given the Nobel Price for Peace for their policy of reconciliation which helped to transform South Africa into a democracy.

The economic and political situation has improved since then: there has been an economic growth of 5 %, many new houses have been built and property prices have decreased and became affordable also to Black citizens but there still remain many problems.
Besides the wealth of South Afica’s English, Afrikaner and Indian population a new elite of Blacks – successful business men and women – has been establisehed due to the government’s Black Economic Empowerment but as this is enriching only a very few the gap beween rich and poor continuously widens. There are still millions of people who live in quarters without electricity or clean water. As economic development is furthermore mainly located in few economic centers, especially in rural areas the high unemployment rate makes many people struggle to survive.

Another problem is the country’s high crime rate which is a fact of daily life for many South Africans especially in the densely populated quarters of the poor which offer which offer no protection against criminals who steal or ever murder.
There is also a spread of corruption within government. Senior members of govrenment and officials of the ANC have been accused of abusing their positions. This is causing unrest in view of the upcoming presidential elections of the ANC, the governing party since the end of apartheid which still can rely on a vast majority within the population. The two main candidates the current president Thabo Mbeki and the Zulu populist Jacob Zuma have been accused of either taking or soliciting payments in significant business deals which affects their popularity with the population as it makes many people feel betrayed and disenchanted.

The elections which are to be held on 16 December are furthermore causing an open conflict within the ANC because of the candidates power struggle. Such a conflict has never been known to ANC members and supporters as it is against the tradition of the ANC to campaign for oneself. It also shows the problem of African leaders who want to stay in office too long.

President Mbeki who serves his second term as president maintains that he only wants to remain president of his party but not run for presidency in the 2009 general elections but others fear that he will try to secure a third term – though the current constitution prohibits it – following the path of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and drive South Africa towards a dictatorship. Mbeki is furthermore criticized for cronyism and for doing little in making anti-retroviral medication widely available for the millions of people living with AIDS (even denying the link beween HIV and AIDS. )

His rival Jacob Zuma who was a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle emphasizes the black nationalism and tries to gain support through his strong personality but others think that he is unsuited to power because of his lack of formal education.
Further outsider candidates who will also run for office are the current Foreign Minister and Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, the former premier of the Gauteng province Tokyo Sexwhale and the multimillionaire Cyril Ramaphosa (the former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers) althouch it is most probable that either Mbeki or Zuma will obtain most votes.

Concerning culture that there is no single South African culture due to its huge ethnic diversity. Indigenious traditions and religions are only found in some rural areas though the European influence has suppressed the indigenious culture.
Nowadays middle class lives of people in the cities is similar to the Western culture.
Sehr gelungenes Essay über das weitgefächerte Thema Süd Africa. Die Geschichte von Südafrika wird beschrieben und erklärt. Außerdem geht der Text auf die politische Situation in Südafrika ein. (1191 Wörter)
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