International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work
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International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.
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Chapter 11: Employment Equity and Diversity Management in South Africa

Lize A.E. Booysen and Stella M. Nkomo


Lize A.E. Booysen and Stella M. Nkomo 1. Introduction In this chapter we begin with a brief overview of South African early history and cultures, the colonalization and the forming of a republic, the apartheid regime and the birth of its democracy. This is followed by a review of the legislation geared towards workplace equality and transformation in South Africa. The outcome of workplace equality legislative measures and the difference between employment equity (EE) and diversity management in the South African context will then be discussed, followed by the current debates surrounding cultural diversity in the workplace. This is followed by an overview of EE and diversity management research and practices in South African organizations, and the conclusion. 1.1 Early history of South Africa and its cultures Booysen and van Wyk (2007, pp. 434–9) give a detailed overview of the early history of South Africa and its cultures, divided into the following three main eras. 1.1.1 Early history up to 1652 The Khoikhoi and San (Khoisan) inhabited the south and western areas of South Africa. Indigenous Bantu-speaking groups (Nguni and Sotho) were also present in most parts of Southern Africa. In 1488, Bartholomew Dias sailed around the southern tip of Africa, and named the Cape the ‘Cape of Good Hope’, other Portuguese explorers followed. Contact between the European seafarers and the Khoisan were mostly of a peaceful, commercial nature. 1.1.2 The period 1652–1948 – from colony to republic The Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station at the...

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