Kevin Bloom on Integration in SA

Posted on June 15, 2010. Filed under: Race Relations, World Cup |

Kate Lefko-Everett

This morning I came across a new article by Kevin Bloom in Global Brief magazine – self described as,

“…Canada’s confident, 21st century answer to The Economist, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Le Monde Diplomatique and a host of other world-class international affairs media platforms. Global Brief is at once a top-tier print magazine and a highly subscribed, hyper-multilingual website…It has no moral mandate. It is not Anglospheric. It is not sensationalist. Nor is it fatalistic. Rather, it seeks to analyze and explain the world in all its bald complexities…”

Anyway, I digress, but I enjoyed that description…

Bloom is a writer and journalist who released his first book, Ways of Staying, in 2009. According to Book Southern AfricaWays of Staying explores the day-to-day realities of living with violence in South Africa, provoked by the killing of the author’s cousin, Richard Bloom, and actor Brett Goldin in Cape Town in 2006.

In his Global Brief article, Integration in South Africa – How’s it Going?,  Bloom suggests that while issues of racial integration remain important for the country, the “will to continue the conversation [about race] has flagged.” Notably, Bloom cites the findings of an IJR submission to the National Conference on Racism held in 2000:

“For its time, the report offered a number of revealing observations; some were reasons for optimism, some less so. It noted, for example, that 58 percent of South Africans, including a majority of white respondents, opposed segregating their communities and schools. It noted that, while a large majority of black South Africans supported affirmative action, a large majority of whites opposed the policy. It noted, too, that there was no evidence that racial animosity was on the rise in the country.”

He suggests that while these conclusions now “seem almost quaint: they point to a moment when, in democratic terms, South Africa was still a small child”, events this year including Julius Malema’s singing of dubul’ibhunu and the killing of Eugene Terre’blanche present challenges for a country “that was apparently moving towards racial harmony”.

In the context of the World Cup, Bloom concludes that while the event may be of  “no benefit to the legions of poor who live on the bread line in South Africa”,  South Africans are nonetheless “quietly hoping that the tournament will increase their ‘happiness index.’”

Read the full article here. Stories, anecdotes, pictures related to the impact of the World Cup so far? Leave a comment below!

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