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Racial Segregation in Post- Apartheid: Analytical Essay

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During the workplace regime of apartheid in 1948-1994 it caused inclusion on the white race but major exclusion on the less “superior” races especially on black people as this exclusion based on race affected their daily lives, their futures, their educations and what they were allowed to do and go. This exclusion from over 20 years ago still impacts their lives today. The topic I going to speak about it the race division and will incorporate it through the racial division of labour and the racial segregation

The racial division of labour in apartheid showed inclusion as it consisted of white people who held superior, operating and skilled jobs, doing white- collar jobs which resulted in higher wages and allowed for growth to higher positions in the company. These jobs typically involved more job security and stability which provide benefits like health care, retirement plans, bonus. While the black people worked in mostly blue-collar work which didn’t allow much progression or promotion, they typically worked for an employer doing farm or mined work in mostly inhuman conditions which resulted in underpay and limited or no labour rights at all. Black people worked far away from towns and due to the underpay they received it cause young men in the family to leave and look for work elsewhere to earn money from their families, this migration led to problems in the society as young men could not marry until allowed by chief, some farms were left in hands of women and children and families were disrupted. This division still cause exclusion in post- apartheid times as most of the people who were disadvantaged during apartheid are still suffering with economic disadvantages with the higher rate of unemployment as the government doesn’t spend a lot of money on empowering middle class the unemployment rates are high. with the disadvantage the black people suffered it still effects their lives as majority of them still live in rule areas and applying for social grants to provide for themselves. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has been introduced post-apartheid to create work opportunities for those people that were excluded during apartheid times, it is a racially selective programme launched by the South African government to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving the less superior races economic privileges that are not available to white people. Although race is the overriding factor, it includes measures such as Employment Preference, skills development, ownership, management, socioeconomic development, and to improve and better the lifes of those who were previously excluded. Another way the government is trying to redress the inequalities in South Africa's is through the triple transition-toward political democracy, economic liberalization, and racial transition which has generated a variety of responses at workplace level. This transition provided efficiency, rights and equity in the workplace as the shift in workplace regime changed as more black people got higher positions and by providing skill development it impacted unskilled and semi- skilled people as the number reduced. Unions also impacted as they brought equality in the workplace and more people were becoming skilled and educated which therefore brought more diversity in workplace as more black people were been hired for example the NUM has developed a new legistration to help set up businesses of their own whose aim is “a transfer of managerial skills to the previously disadvantaged” and NUMSA’s that use their powers to help defend and advance workers’ rights. NUMSA tries to break down the division between white and black workers and build unity and the long term vision is of a united South Africa where the minority will no longer exploit and oppress the majority.

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Racial segregation during apartheid separated the people according to their races and this determined where they could be and where not to. During these time white people lived in town, in the richer part of the area and they had more luxury and spacious housing. They had less restrictions implemented and has better access to education as the white people attended private or more fancy schools. The white people also had selected areas only accessible by white people like entertainment areas for example the Highveld Club. Due to the policy of segregation some black people were forcibly removed from their land to make it a white only area therefore Black people had smaller, less comfortable housing located on the outer skirts of the town which cause limited water resources to be available. Black people had a poorer education in a more rural, underprivileged school with limited resources. They had heavier restrictions and curfews put into place and would be punished in this was broken. All these laws were conducted by white political, trade union rather than the law itself. This affects their lives post- apartheid as now in majority of the urban areas consist of white people and some black people still live in more rural areas as there is no spatial planning and most private or more advanced schools are in a “white” area. The lack of education affects black people as they are still stuck in poverty and can’t leave townships or better their life, this can also cause unemployment as due to their lack of education they can’t get better jobs but the Unemployment Insurance Fund helps deal with poverty by providing short-term unemployment insurance to all workers who qualify for unemployment related benefits for example those on maternity leave or illness

To conclude, the people that were disadvantaged and excluded during the apartheid time still drastically impacts their live as most of them are unavailable to escape they poverty cycle and better their lives but there has been initiatives introduced and trade unions in supporting people


  1. Webster, E., 2015. Work Restructuring in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Work and Occupations Vol 3, [Online]. 3, 3-22. Available at: [Accessed 14 June 2020].
  2. Wikipedia. 2020. Black Economic Empowerment. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2020].
  3. Von Holdt, K. (2005). ‘Political transition and the changing workplace order in a South African steelworks’. in, E. Webster & K. von Holdt (eds.) Beyond the Apartheid Workplace. Studies in Transition. Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
  4. Webster, E., Joynt, K. Sefalafala, T. (2016). Informalisation and decent work: Labour’s challenge. Progress in Development Studies, 16, 2, pp. 203-218
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