News Brief

Because Racism: White South Africans Make 5 Times More Than Black South Africans

A recent survey by Statistics South Africa highlights income inequality between Black and White South Africans.

From addressing prejudicial hair policies in schools to exposing discrimination in hospitals, South Africans have been vocal about the need to challenge systemic racism in their country.

The result of institutionalized racism rears its ugly, white-supremacist head in a recent report on the Living Conditions of Households in South Africa produced by Statistics South Africa, which shows the stark income gap between Black and White South Africans.

Despite accounting for over 80 percent of the country's population, Black South Africans earn 5 times less than their White counterparts, who constitute only 8 percent of the population.

"The data shows that white South Africans still command the highest average incomes in the country at approximately R444,446 a year. This is over 1.5 times greater than Indians/Asians at R271,621 per year, and almost 5 times more than black South Africans, at R92,893 per year," reports Business Tech.

Though the gap has narrowed since the survey was last conducted in 2011—at that time, White South Africans made close to 6 times more—the disparity is still alarming, especially considering that so little of the population is White.

It's clear that in South Africa, and in pretty much every other place in the world (I'm looking at you, America), systems remain in place to keep White people in power. What's new?

As we continue to yell "fuck the system," let's remember the brave young women of Pretoria Girls High and the fervent students who led the #FeesMustFall movement, and continue to disrupt, dismantle, and call the White man out on his rampant bullshit.

Protests at Pretoria Girl's School image via twitter

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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