South Africa recently celebrated twenty years of “democracy” since a Black majority government was formed by the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies in 1994. South Africa has been a central, not a peripheral player in world society for 150 years. Its inhabitants have long been engaged in the struggle for democracy and equality. This is why its leading political figures include world famous individuals like Mohandas K. Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
South Africa’s gold underpinned booming world trade in the decades leading up to the First World War. It was then another jewel in the British Empire alongside India, and it received the lion’s share of British foreign investment. South Africa’s mining industry played a crucial role in establishing the racial divisions which organized world society in the 20th century. That racial order, based on the assumption of categorical inequality among human beings, eventually gave rise to its antithesis within South Africa and subsequently to the worldwide anti-apartheid movement. The demise of apartheid in South Africa twenty years ago was a turning point in Black emancipation on a par with the abolition of slavery and the collapse of colonial empire. It may well be seen as a moment when race — and other ascribed characteristics such as gender — began to lose their political significance in human affairs. Continue reading ‘The Globalization of Apartheid: South Africa, Europe, World’ »