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Insight: Growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa

South Africa flag Friday 13 February 2015

Twenty five years on from Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Liverpool Hope student Jessica Hill writes about growing up in a country moving past Apartheid.

This Wednesday, South Africa celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of Mandela who four years later would become the country's first black president. Following 27 years in prison Mandela walked free from prison to be met with crowds of South Africans celebrating the end to his struggle.

Raising his clenched fist to signal his determination to end apartheid, the system of racial discrimination that had divided South Africa for so long became a turning point in South Africa's history. Growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa many still hold Mandela’s vision of a non-racial, democratic and prosperous society in the foreground. Speaking as a member of the generation of those who grew up directly after the end of apartheid and during Mandela’s time as President the regard that message of change is held very highly.

The release of Mandela and subsequent elections marked an achievement of a democratic and free country; however, it is important to recognise that the country is by no means perfect. There is still major inequality and the disparity between rich and poor is something that is very noticeable to those living within the country and there is still, unfortunately, racial discrimination. However South Africans all over still strive towards the change Mandela foresaw.  

Current President Jacob Zuma summed up the feeling of the country on this day by saying, "This day ... marked a giant leap in the long walk to freedom, not just for Nelson Mandela but also for the people of South Africa," and he was right. There might still be a way to go for South Africa but the achievements made by the country are something that all South Africans should all be proud of.

 

 

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