Money: SA’s great divide

2012-07-08 19:45

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - South Africans of Indian and Asian origin reach out more to other racial groups than blacks and whites do.

This is revealed in the Youth Context Study, a part of the Status of Youth Report that President Jacob Zuma is expected to release soon.

The chapter on social cohesion in the study – which is a project of the National Youth Development Agency – was compiled using data from several local studies.

Government last week hosted a social cohesion summit in Soweto in an attempt to ease tensions in a country haunted by its apartheid past.

The Status of Youth Report found that about 50% of Asians and Indians always socialised with other races, compared with almost 39% of whites and only 13% of blacks.

This was prevalent in all age groups between 16 and 54, and only lower in citizens over the age of 55 – here, whites and coloureds scored highest.

Researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) reveal that even young people struggle to relate to other race groups.


While young people are widely expected to find it easy to enjoy better relations with other races because they have been brought up in a democracy, their study found this was not the case.

“For the many young people who are stuck with low-quality education – many of whom come from poor backgrounds – it will remain difficult to integrate fully into society and realise their potential,” said Duncan Scott, a researcher in the HSRC’s human and social development unit.

“The same can be said for youth growing up in high-risk environments evidence suggests that young people who are victims of crime are more likely themselves to commit a crime in the future,” Scott said.

He said high-risk environments included problematic families or dangerous neighbourhoods.

Cross-group socialisation is higher in metropolitan areas compared with townships and rural villages.

“This may partly explain the situation where black South Africans, proportionately the poorest group in the country, appear to interact least with other population groups,” the study said.

“This is a question of a lack of social mobility among a group determining, in part, the supply side of group interaction.”

Black people were willing to share with their fellow white citizens, but the tension between the two groups was “opportunity driven” and not “resistance driven”, according to the study.

Economic inequalities

But a range of studies discussed at the social cohesion summit this week revealed the biggest stumbling block to building a united South Africa: economic inequalities.

A government study, part of its national strategy for developing an “inclusive and cohesive South African society”, reported that unemployed black people made up 85.7% of the country’s jobless population.

The summit declared “slow economic growth and transformation results in widespread unemployment, poverty, inequality and exclusion based on race, age and gender”.

Scott agreed: “This is to a certain extent exacerbated by low-quality schooling in primary and lower-secondary levels, which is leaving young people without adequate skills to enter the labour market.”

Scott said it might be “unrealistic” to expect total social cohesion within 20 years of becoming a democracy, but increased participation in education and shared living spaces show positive progress.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, whose department is leading nation-building projects, said the socio-economic conditions of poor people still needed attention.

Crime and poor security were also found to hinder social cohesion.

Fear and distrust

Government’s study found “unsafe communities create fear and distrust among citizens".

"It hinders free and open social interaction as people retreat and hide behind high walls and security gates.”

Mashatile said government wanted national flags in schools and government departments to promote unity through appreciating national symbols.

More social cohesion and nation-building summits will be convened at provincial, local and community levels in the next 12 months.

» Additional reporting by Carien du Plessis

Read more on:    hsrc  |  nyda  |  jacob zuma  |  research

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.