Maggie: Nelson Mandela’s passing drew international attention to South Africa this week, but it also put some of that country’s current problems into the spotlight. Shelby Holliday talked to young people there to see what they thought about their country’s future.
Grant Kohler: I think if Mandela had to look upon South Africa now, I think he would be, quite honestly, disappointed.
Shelby: Since Nelson Mandela’s promising presidency, these young South Africans say their country has struggled to fulfill his dreams.
Nick Jordaan: It seems to be falling apart because it’s dirty, the crime rates are extremely high since he has been out of office, our education levels have dropped.
Shelby: Corruption seems like a big deal here.
Trevor Mulaudzi: It’s major. And the people that are in power, doing the wrongs, they are not taken to task.
Shelby: South Africa’s ruling political party, once led by Nelson Mandela himself, has faced growing criticism in recent years. Current President Jacob Zuma has been accused of widespread corruption, like using taxpayer dollars to upgrade his personal home. And there are growing frustrations with the government and its inability to make people’s lives better.
Grant: Like the government, I think they’ve tried so many laws and so many things that have been put into place, but they haven’t been followed. They turn a blind eye to it.
Shelby: South Africa’s education system ranks among the worst in the world. Violent crime is on the rise and so is disease. Ten percent of the population is infected with HIV or AIDS.
Dr. Fareed Abdullah: We have many causes of such a high rate of HIV, and these have to do with poverty, they have to do with migrant labor system, they have to do with extremes of gender inequality and gender-based violence that we have in this country.
Shelby: And jobs are hard to find. One out of every four people is unemployed, and most are teens and young adults.
South African citizen: The unemployment level is so high because so many of the population are uneducated. So, therefore, they can’t seek work. They can’t get work.
Shelby: The government has helped black communities that were held back under apartheid improve, giving homes to millions of poor families and bringing electricity and running water to neighborhoods. But those steps haven’t been enough. And while racial segregation came to an end after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, his dream for the ‘rainbow nation’ has yet to be realized.
Do you think racism is still a problem here?
Trevor: Yeah, I think it is. I think it is.
Shelby: Today, white families still earn six times as much as black families. And 40% of people get by on just $40 a month.
Now it is up to the so-called ‘born free generation,’ those born after the end of apartheid, to carry out Mandela’s legacy.
Grant: We need somebody with courage, people with courage, people with that motivation.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
Maggie: For all of our coverage from South Africa, go to Channelone.com.