South Africa has achieved liberation, but no equality yet

Posted on April 30, 2013

“Do not shout before the game is over. The struggle against the indecency and the barbarity of apartheid is over, but the struggle to attain equality is still on-going. You have to go beyond freedom equality to globalisation, which in itself presents other challenges,” he said.

He lauded leaders like former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki who brought freedom to South Africa in 1994, but challenged today’s generation to continue with the struggle for economic freedom and social equality.

“The struggle should be about democracy in the economy, healthcare, access to land and skills. This struggle, however, calls for different skills, different allies and different methods,” he added.

Reverend Jackson addressed diplomats, professionals, businesspeople, academics and students at the University of Pretoria on the subject of Building an inclusive economy.

He is the president and the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in America and is one of America’s foremost political figures who, over the past 30 years, has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality and economic and social justice. He has also played a significant role in South African politics as a dedicated campaigner against apartheid.

The event was hosted by the Institute for Strategic and Political Affairs, and the Institute for Global Dialogue at the University of Pretoria, in conjunction with the American embassy.

Reverend Jackson celebrated Freedom Day in South Africa on 27 April and received The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo. This is South Africa’s highest award given to foreign nationals (Heads of State and Government) and also to foreign dignitaries. It is awarded for friendship shown to South Africa.

Reverend Jackson outlined how the segregation laws which operated in his country (particularly in South Carolina) and in South Africa were almost similar, except for the nuance differences like the pass laws. He said as much as apartheid has taught the society of South Africa to live apart according to racial classification, society still needs to learn to live together which require changing of hearts and minds.

He said both America and South Africa have been evolving and, for the past 19 years, South Africa has been one of the foremost countries in the world in terms of learning how to live together. He said apartheid was rooted in layers which were skin deep in a sense that decisions were based on skin colour.

Although this epidemic layer of degradation and barbaric humiliation of civil society ended19 years ago due to political sacrifices made by freedom fighters and political activists who endured persecution and humiliation in the face of apartheid, there’s still another layer which should be uprooted by today’s generation.

“Inequality is unfinished business which is a challenge facing today’s generation. Young South Africans should stop complaining about the inequalities in the country, but should rather take the struggle forward in addressing matters. Your struggle is to build the bridges because the walls have been destroyed by your parents. If you seize this moment, in time you’ll be free, equal and better off for it,” said Reverend Jackson.

He called on the government and the private sector to play a dynamic role in targeting and uplifting the deprived members of the society. He said government policies should be able to lift the people up from, amongst others, poverty and the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

“Government should plan and put policies in place that should lift up the people, especially in rural communities. Apartheid was a government policy which put you down and so the government of the day should lift you up. It must not measure its growth by the few having more, but by the most having enough,” he said.

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences