By Zubeida Jaffer
In just twenty weeks, our young democracy will be ten years old. Finding a measure to assess our development is not easy. Economic indicators, housing statistics and welfare grants all tell part of the story. How South Africans are living together and interacting across racial lines cannot be easily quantified. The SA Reconciliation Barometer, a longitudinal survey initiated by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation has advanced.
In this newsletter, we publish part of the findings that gives an insight into the degree to which South Africans of different races are mixing or having contact. Interestingly, the survey has found that there is a steady increase of trust between different racial groups. Between 2001 and 2003, ten percent fewer people regard people from other race groups as untrustworthy. As Karin Lombard states that this will have to be monitored over a more extensive period of time to make any conclusive pronouncements. Nevertheless, it does appear that with time South Africans are learning to move beyond racial barriers in their decision to trust or not trust their fellow citizens.
In parallel to these findings, the SA Reconciliation Barometer has conducted a case study of one village in the Cape to test anecdotally the nature of race relations and community cohesion. Hout Bay is South Africa in microcosm and those citizens interviewed provide useful insights into how the race game is playing itself out.
It is for the reader to make up his or her mind about whether these citizens are making progress towards finding one another and learning to live together.
THE S.A. RECONCILIATION BAROMETER
VOL 1. ISS 4 * DECEMBER 2003