Picture: Andrew Ingram
Picture: Andrew Ingram

We are a Rainbow Nation after all

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published Dec 22, 2017

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Cape Town - South Africans are more united than they give themselves credit for. Instead of obsessing about racial differences, they are more concerned about fixing the education system, job creation and fighting corruption.

A comprehensive study conducted by Ask Afrika, on behalf of the Centre for Communication and Reputation Management at the University of Pretoria shows we are more united than we realise.

Ask Afrika marketing and advocacy head Joy Ruwodo said the study sampled 37 million South Africans.

“According to the study, 46% of the respondents described themselves as South African before classifying themselves by race, culture or language groupings, while 61% say they are confident there is a happy future for all races in South Africa.”

Ruwodo said South Africans would classify themselves as South Africans before categorising their races and cultures.

“Of the respondents, 46% of them view themselves as South Africans first. The views of the largest population groups are actually similar. The similarities came up in the three issues: education, job creation and corruption.”

Ruwodo said the survey found that race was not a big deal among South Africans. “The media and government still use it as if its an important thing but this shows something different. That South Africans would rather fight for things that matter.”

She said the survey was done in focus groups over a four-month period.

Professor Ronel Rensburg from the Centre for Communication and Reputation Management said the data indicated that a national psyche existed that tied citizens together, despite their differences and backgrounds.

“The data and results will be used to give voice to ordinary citizens and to be used as a catalyst for positive change in South Africa.”

More than 50% of those surveyed said they would fight corruption, 46% wanted to see employment created for all and 43% said they were dedicated to fighting poverty.

In addition to confirming that they were willing to fight against corruption, racism, state capture and xenophobia, the overwhelming majority of respondents said corruption would affect their voting behaviour.

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation spokesperson Zaakirah Vadi said it would have to review the full study to get a better understanding of its scope. “Nonetheless, it paints an optimistic picture around South Africans’ hopes for race relations it’s an indicator that a future based on the values of non-racialism and equality is one South Africans still hope for, despite the range of racial incidents over the last few years, as well as heightened inequality.”

But Vadi said the study indicated that despite South Africans believing transformation had occurred in some sectors, a significant number still felt society remained untransformed. “The challenge will be to grapple with how it envisions a fully transformed society and what it needs to take place for this to unfold.”

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Cape Argus

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