Life After Nelson Mandela: What Now for South Africa?

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Words by Kenisha Taylor

Nelson Mandela was an extremely influential man.
He spent 27 years of his life in prison fighting for the ideal of freedom. When he was released he changed the world’s views on apartheid, inequality and discrimination. However, it is debatable whether he was the only obstacle that prevented the restart of apartheid. Upon Mandela’s death, the question is, could the apartheid regime return? If so, could it happen within this generation?
Thanks to viral internet videos, people have become extremely susceptible to the messages that the media produces. It isn’t hard for the media to propagate ideas to change public perceptions about the South African people. Viral videos have the power to affect people: take, for example, the ‘Kony 2012’ video. It influenced thousands of people, raised awareness of International Criminal Court fugitive Joseph Kony and the ‘Stop Kony’ movement. Many people took it as truth without researching the facts. Psychologists have conducted studies into the motivations behind this kind of obedience. This research found that obedience to authority is ingrained into us from the way we are brought up. We are taught to obey parents, teachers, anyone in authority. This makes the distortion views through the authority of media relatively easy.

If a video were to emerge now showing violence between black and white South Africans it would be quite easy for the media to suggest that it was only Mandela keeping their savage behaviour at bay. Without Mandela, and following this chain of thought, it would be possible to justify the need for blacks to be separated from whites as a means of survival. This type of video would go viral and there would be global outrage. People would watch the video, maybe share it on Facebook or Twitter but wouldn’t act to change anything.

This generation can be ignorant when it comes to research. Many people don’t even know who Mandela is or understand what he did for South Africa. Apartheid officially ended in 1994 – this just goes to show how much has changed within 20 years. However, the internal prejudices are still there.

We must understand the difference between compliancy and internalisation. Compliancy is going along with something because you wish to be liked or to avoid confrontation. Internalisation is genuinely changing your belief system. I personally doubt that within the short space of 20 years all those who were prejudiced in favour of the apartheid regime, particularly white people who gained from the perks of an all-white supremacist society, don’t still flinch or cringe when they’re next to a black South African.

Equal opportunities cannot exist when people still hold internal prejudices. I believe this simmering conflict will spark an uprising – perhaps not this generation, but maybe in the next. As people increasingly forget what Mandela stood for, and as they only remember the racism and inequality, tension will build up and a new system will arise. It may not be apartheid but something may change now that Tata Madiba has gone.  

Hopefully it will not come to this,< but we must be aware that it is a possibility in today’s generation.


Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (Lord bless Africa).

Kenisha Taylor was born and raised in Manchester and studies History at MMU. She enjoys playing netball and basketball, travelling, and visiting various UK cities with her church for social events.

Humanity Hallows aims to provide a platform for students of Manchester Metropolitan University to express their opinions on a range of subjects. 
The views expressed by our contributors are solely theirs. Opinions expressed are not neccessarily representative of the views of Humanity Hallows or Manchester Metropolitan University.

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