Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So Much For The New South Africa

Yesterday one of my many managers wandered into our office with an official form she had to fill out, detailing everyone's highest education level and - what I only realised later when others started asking questions - our gender and race. When pressed for answers she said it had to do with the company's equality levels, as - as far as I know, and putting it quite basically - companies have to strive to have their body of employees represent, statistically, South Africa's population breakdown in terms of race.

A few weeks ago when I was at another job and had to fill in an employee information form, one of the questions I had to fill in was to tick a box detailing whether I was white, black, indian or coloured (South Africa's usual list of racial classifications), as well as my gender and whether I was single/married/divorced/separated/whatevered. Again, it was stated on the form that the race question had to do with equality requirements.

This has all - once again - brought to the forefront one of the many ridiculous issues that still plagues our country. I can choose to ignore the partnership status questions (although perhaps to my eventual peril?), but I can't ignore the gender question and I definitely cannot ignore the race question as, even if I choose not to fill it in, someone else will do so for me, as my manager automatically did yesterday without me even knowing initially that there was a question about it.

We are all supposed to be equal in the New South Africa and yet - in order to "achieve" this - our rights are trampled on on a daily basis. We are all told repeatedly that we must get over the race "thing", yet we are never allowed to move forward, as bureaucracy still dictates that we have to be classified on the same grounds that were used, years ago, to oppress the very same people that supposedly are now being liberated by this violation.



Blogger Francois Maree said...

Hear hear!!!!! I know EXACTLY how you feel. Rather, I used to feel like that, now I try not to think about it. But it is in the back of my mind all the time

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 4:16:00 AM  
Blogger Somabula Blog said...

I came across the same thing when registering for a further degree a few years ago. I informed the university that it was not politically correct to ask these questions and was told that 'the government' (yes - Thabo's crew) had insisted on it. After complaining about it for years and years and years.

My policy now is simply to put 'African' for every question. Well, I was born in Africa, wasn't I? And I am African in colour, given that African's can cover the entire colour spectrum from Albino white to Darkest Africa black.

It really gets up the noses of the desk leaning jonnies when I insist on being African and argue vehemently when they try to change it. I even go so far as to screw up the form and fill out another one.

Hope it messes up their stats big time - not that anyone does any stats, or much else, in the NSA.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:08:00 PM  
Blogger moonflake said...

SA isn't any more fair in its laws now than it was during apartheid. The govt still classifies people on race, minorites are discriminated against by law, and civil rights abuses are just as bad if not worse. We still see scenes on the news with police officers beating rioters while rioters stone police. The only difference is that now the police are the same skin color as the rioters. Is this meant to be an improvement?

Monday, June 12, 2006 1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

On the topic of civil rights, I must say that that thing with the man from Pakistan who "disappeared" has me quite freaked out. I hope those responsible are hauled off to the international court to explain themselves...

(For those unfamiliar with the case, here's a news story (although the link/site wasn't working when I checked it).)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:03:00 AM  

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