Committee: Special Political and Decolonization

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South Africa

Current Effects of Colonization

Committee: Special Political and Decolonization

Delegate: Alyssa Arend, Franklin High School

For thousands of years societies have battled to conquer others and to defend themselves from others. However long these battles prolonged, their effects greatly outlasted them. Such a case is in South Africa, where trade and interest in natural resources led to discriminatory tyranny. The Dutch and the British first colonized South Africa in the 17th century. By the mid 1940s, the Dutch descendents gained majority and what followed was an extended period of discrimination and oppression of the natives. The “Grand Apartheid” plan was enacted along with racial laws. Nonwhites were restricted from jobs, from marrying outside of their race and even from entering into areas of their own homeland without their passport. In addition, nonwhites faced harsh punishment if they protested the laws that so strictly constrained them. Imprisonment without trial, beatings, torturing and death sentences were commonplace penalties. Despite the near 5:1 ratio of non-white population to white population, in South Africa, the former remained oppressed and the ladder remain in power.

Help was to come with the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa by the United Nations in 1989. Through the U.N.’s sanctions and the struggle of the people in a revolt against their government resulted in the beginning of the decolonization of Africa in the 1980s. By 1991s the last of the apartheid laws were terminated. This in turn permitted the first democratic election to take place in April of 1994 and for democracy to be established in 1996.

Despite these efforts, the effects of the European colonization are still widely felt. Leftovers include poverty, malnutrition, disease and violence. Over 18 million survive below the “minimum living level” and nearly 11 million live in poverty. In addition, the whites still largely the economy and affirmative actions have not been implemented, with nearly half of the black population unemployed. The once dominant National Party that implemented the apartheid movement seems to still retain local control although the African National Congress party (supporters of a democratic South Africa) is gaining power. Violence spreads rampantly due to the lack of economic opportunities for the urban black population. Mobs of Africans have participated in stabbings, beatings and raping. Sexual harassment is also present, especially in the schools, although there is no correlation between race and frequency of attacks. HIV and AIDs are also prevalent, with 1 in every 5 adults HIV positive.

Clearly, colonization’s effects are still being felt. The U.N. holds the power to change this, and to henceforth brighten South Africa’s future. To do so, the United Nations must support the democracy that has been established, working to ensure that elections are uncorrupt and nondiscriminatory. In addition, the U.N. must work with South African police and military forces to demolish the violence and harassment that exists in order to create a peace among South Africans. In addition, medical assistance must be sent to end the spread of diseases, sickness and death.

South Africa has certainly come far from the oppressed country it was barely decades ago. However, it has further yet to go on its path to becoming a world power. Injunction with the United Nation’s support, South Africa can overcome the remains of colonization to reach a place of peace and power in our world


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