South African Society Structure

South African life was played out in a melting pot of humanity

Society consisted broadly of
  • Proud people who could trace their family back hundreds of years. They knew where their ancestors were buried, & often had family who still lived on this ancestral land.


  • Migrant workers who flooded in to supply the labour & skills that were required to build & power the economy. New arrivals stood out from the rest of us because they frowned often. We lived under the law, the law was enforced by the gun & the courts could sentence a person to death – Until 1995, anyway.


  • Criminals. We had lots of them. Murderers killed strangers as well as friends and family members. Sometimes, they killed themselves. Smuggling was rife,. Weapons, diamonds, gold & secrets circulated quicker than gossip in a cul-de-sac. Citizens disappeared. Children who went missing were seldom found. When adults went missing, most people assumed some branch of the police had taken them.


We had feast, famine, violent clashes between factions & rights riots. Many felt that they were being discriminated against because they had a different native tongue. Many more thought they were treated like fools because they came from rural areas.

In later years, South Africa’s dirty laundry was pegged on the line for the world to comment on. Racial tensions have been blamed for many things, but the society I am writing about here is white society.

White society was split by culture,language & the all the social stuff that divides people. Politics,religion,nationalist pride,economics,the old school tie – We had all the usual divisions quite aside from the big political & racial rhetoric that came later. Like all of Africa’s people the light-skinned people were made of different tribes just like their darker skinned counterparts.

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