|Former United States President, Bill Clinton (right)|
with former South African President, Nelson Mandela,
on his 94th birthday (July 18th, 2012).
|A young Nelson Mandela|
But eighteen years on, after Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) got into power, there is still a huge gap between the rich and the poor. In some nations such a disparity of wealth could be “normal,” but in South Africa’s case the wealth inequality is a direct result of South Africa’s apartheid history. In its recent report on South Africa, the World Bank stressed the need for South Africa to “tackle economic inequality in order to create jobs.” It is this point that has led to many disgruntled South Africans in poor townships taking to the streets to protest against the national unemployment rate - currently at 25 percent - and the persistent poverty they are faced with daily. The call for equitable distribution of wealth has been growing louder with this increasing gap in inequality. Various alternatives are being considered by the ANC but none seems popular with those who’ve benefited from apartheid, especial politically well-connected black South Africans who’ve been dolled huge segments of the national economy. This has led to questions of whether comprehensive economic empowerment in South Africa is possible without authoritarian, “Mugabe-type” government action?
|A younger Robert Mubage|
|Former South African President, Nelson Mandela (left), |
with Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe (right).
Edson Charikinya is a Zimbabwean born Chemical Engineer based in South Africa. He is the founder and Operations Director of Innovartis Technology Systems, a Pan-African technology group delivering technology solutions and services to African communities and small-to-medium sized enterprises. He holds an MSc in Chemical Engineering and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Stellenbosch.
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