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The BBC's Jane Standley in Johannesburg
"Both communities are worried about what their futures hold"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Mbeki: Whites must do more
South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki
Mbeki sets the agenda for the fight against racism
South African President Thabo Mbeki has told white South Africans to recognise the reality of racism and join their black fellow citizens in creating a non-racial society.

Mr Mbeki told a major conference on racism in Johannesburg that despite the miracle of South Africa's political transformation, deep-rooted racist attitudes had survived the end of apartheid.

If white South Africa is fearful of the future because of what it might lose, black South Africa looks forward to the future because of what it will gain

President Mbeki
The four-day conference organised by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), is aimed at addressing the gulf in wealth and opportunity between blacks and whites.

There is also concern about what is seen as a rise in xenophobia, with tensions between black South Africans and immigrants from neighbouring countries.


The South African leader said after the damage caused by decades of apartheid, only a joint national effort, involving blacks and whites, could secure the dream of a truly multi-racial society.

Apartheid laws
Land act
Restricted black settlement in rural areas
Population registration act
Assigned racial labels to everyone
Group areas act
Segregated residential areas
Pass laws
Restricted blacks' right to work in cities
Mixed marriages act
Banned inter-racial marriage
Immorality act
Banned inter-racial sex
"If white South Africa is fearful of the future because of what it might lose, black South Africa looks forward to the future because of what it will gain," President Mbeki said.

"In the end, what it expects it will gain is fully its human dignity, based on an end to poverty, to ignorance and inequality, and based on the creation of a society in which its blackness will no longer be a belt of subservience."

Soweto shanty town
Most black people live in slums
Mr Mbeki's view reflects the findings of the South African human rights commission, which heard public experiences of racism at a series of hearings earlier this year.

Few whites attended the hearings and most of the black participants gave alarming stories of racial hatred and abuse from white neighbours and employers.

Police on Tuesday began an investigation into the death of a black labourer who was allegedly chained to the back of a truck by his white employer and then dragged more than five kilometres.

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See also:

24 Aug 00 | Africa
Racism 'pervasive' in SA media
26 Jan 00 | Africa
South Africa bans discrimination
28 Aug 00 | Africa
South Africa's new racism
29 Aug 00 | Africa
Apartheid 'still alive' in SA
29 Aug 00 | Africa
SA worker dragged to death
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