South African University Racism Persists

South Africa is only a decade removed from a world of apartheid which denied access to higher education for a large percent of the black population. It is not surprising that evidence of institutional racism would be found in institutions of higher learning in the country. Tammy Shefer, a professor at the University of Western Cape, told an audience “there is no doubt that racist prejudices continue to persist in our universities.” She cited a recent survey which reveals 58% of university staff believes racism to be a serious problem. About 20% report experiences of discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.

Universities in South Africa most probably have yet to develop and implement policies that protect both students and staff from the cruelty of racism. The very concept of “institutional racism” is frequently difficult to prove or root out. There is probably need for a new generation of faculty to emerge who never experienced apartheid before the root of institutional racism can be rooted out.