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Violence tars S. Africa’s racial-reconciliation image
“The 14 years of democracy in South Africa have been very successful in addressing our social challenges, in particular the socioeconomic situation in which many poor Africans live,” the embassy said.
“However, what our government has achieved is nowhere nearly enough to undo centuries of economic oppression and exclusion based on racial subjugation.”
South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils told South African reporters that the government was aware of simmering anti-immigrant feeling and the potential for violence.
“It is one thing to know there is a social problem and another thing to know when that outburst will occur,” he said.
But the opposition South African Democratic Alliance party has taken officials to task for what it called the government’s failure to deal with the growing immigrant problem and its search for “excuses” for not heading off the violence earlier.
The sense of disillusionment is felt across the continent. Many Africans recalled that top figures of the African National Congress - now South Africa’s governing party - found sanctuary in their countries in the long struggle against the apartheid regime.
The recent violence “is a disgrace and in total contradiction with the traditional culture where brothers and sisters help each other communally in times of need,” according to a letter writer to 7Days, a United Arab Emirates-based newspaper.
About the Author
Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.
At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...
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