South Africa: soft on racism?

Recent racialized attacks have left South Africans wondering if our legal system is soft on racism. Post-Apartheid South Africa is still marked by acts of racial violence. In the past year South African social media has seen a flood of racially based attacks. Yet, all too often it seems as if nothing is being done to fight the scourge of racism that continues to linger after 1994. After yet another attack at a KFC in Pretoria caused a social media uproar, OppiFM headed to the streets of Grahamstown to get a sense of how this issue hit home.

We found that most community members we spoke to had experienced racism to some degree. Derogatory name calling presented itself as a particular issue faced by Grahamstownians. Yet, none of the people we spoke to had taken legal action. Our legal system stipulates that South Africans ought to be protected against racism, including racial slurs. According to South African common law racialised slurs can be prosecuted as crimen injuria or the act of unlawfully and intentionally impairing the dignity or privacy of another person.

Irrespective, the Grahamstown population seems to suffer in silence. Begging the question; are South African citizens soft on racism or numbed to its regularity.

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Words by Paige Muller