South Africa border unrest raises apartheid’s spirit

Since visiting last year, I take an interest at any news I come across about South Africa. This Los Angeles Times story highlights a long-simmering problem of social unrest in Zimbabwe and the mass migration of people across the border to South Africa.

Zimbabwe one of the big issues while we were there. Heidi Holland, owner of the guest house where we stayed in Johannesburg, is a journalist and author who grew up in Zimbabwe.

She told us a story about meeting a young, idealistic Robert Mugabe before he became president and dictator, leading his country to ruin. If I remember correctly, Holland said she didn’t sense that he would become a tyrant and wondered what went wrong.

Zimbabwe’s problems are spreading to South Africa, and the Times story says the border issues have sparked the “reflexive racial hostility of apartheid.” We never saw any overt signs of racism or met any whites who were outwardly racist, but we were mainly in the tourist areas. Holland and Mark, our Viva Safaris guide in Kruger National Park, both were not racist and were comfortable around blacks. They are probably indicative of many whites in modern South Africa

But as I wrote before, it’s clearly still a segregated society in South Africa, with whites controlling most of the economic power and many black and colored people living in poverty. As the border issues show, the end of apartheid hasn’t ended racism in South Africa.

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