Despite a more progressive and democratic government rising to the seat of power in South Africa in 1994, they were forced to inherit the economic and social legacies of the apartheid-era regime. The socio-political climate then was composed of soaring unemployment rates, widespread poverty, insufficient education and literacy rates, an ill-maintained healthcare system that is woefully ill-prepared to deal with the threat of HIV/AIDS, and other ills of similar less developed countries.
The iron will leaders, the vigilance against corruption, and the strength of the South African people are what allowed this nation to successfully develop their society from one ruled by apartheid into a true democratic republic. South Africa, under the leadership and guidance of Nelson Mandela and his cabinet, first succeeded in strengthening the economy, thus paving the way for further social growth and nation-wide improvement in living standards.
With the public treasury strengthened significantly, interest rates were brought down and inflation brought firmly under control by the South African Government, the Post-Apartheid state then grappled with transitioning into a multi-racial society. Not only did apartheid’s reign pervert morality and dehumanize the majority of South African citizens, it also damaged the moral fiber and integrity of the entire nation.
The nation as a whole underwent a series of reconciliation movements and government-sponsored programs to harmonize the past and the present of both whites and blacks of South Africa who all lived during the Apartheid Era in order for them to move unified into the future. According to Chapman, there are at least six requirements for reconciliation: The first is discernment, preferably by a body with official status, of the truth about the extent, causes and perpetrators of past violence and abuses. The second is open and shared acknowledgement of moral responsibility by those who inflicted the harm, and others who were complicit by their silence and failure to oppose the wrongdoing. The third requirement is a willingness to let go of the past and not seek vengeance. The fourth is the achieving of justice, specifically a measure of appropriate redress. The fifth requirement is a commitment on the part of all parties to repair and re-establish their relationships. The sixth and final requirement is to create and sustain a network of understandings and relationships necessary to shape and support a new and common future. “