South Africa: Race Matters, but B-BBEE Policies Impose Racial Classification As the Dominant Attribute of an Individual

opinion

To really address the inequalities of the past and present, we need to give greater credence to genuine strategies of empowerment that are more integrated and effective than tick-box compliance with BEE.

In the late eighties, one of the sickest signs of apartheid in the Groote Schuur group of hospitals was its segregated crèche for staff children. Every morning, cleaners, nurses and doctors would drop their children off at the common facility on Main Street in Observatory.

There, they were met by friendly pre-school teachers who would triage them into different classrooms based on the colour of their skins. "Black" and "white" children would only see each other at break time, playfully holding hands through the diamond mesh fencing that divided the playground in two.

What better way to perpetuate racial thinking than to embed it in the minds of children? Where easier to normalise abnormality but in spaces where children feel happy and secure; where identity formation is distorted by defective wiring of the brain fused into place through acts experienced as love, not cruelty?

Fast-forward 30 years and the way in which some aspects of broad-based black economic empowerment are playing out must have Verwoerd smiling in his...

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