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

Second Edition Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld, Lize A.E. Booysen, Eddy Ng, Ian Roper and Ahu Tatli

The second edition of this important reference work provides important updates and new perspectives on the cases constituting the first edition, as well as including contributions from a number of new countries: Australia, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria and Russia. Countries that have been updated and expanded are Austria, Canada, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
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Chapter 13: New developments in employment equity and diversity management in South Africa

Lize A.E. Booysen and Stella M. Nkomo


In our previous chapter titled, 'Employment equity and diversity management in South Africa' (Booysen and Nkomo, 2010a), we started with a brief overview of early South African cultural history and subsequent developments culminating in a new democracy in 1994. We pointed out that the indigenous peoples of South Africa were systematically displaced since 1652 by white antagonistic colonial rulers, the Dutch and the English, followed by the apartheid governments of independent South Africa that systemically oppressed the native black population from 1948 until the new democratic dispensation in 1994. Apartheid, based on a system of legislated racial categorization and separation found its end in the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. While South Africa is now a new democracy with equal rights for all, the history of South Africa is in large part one of increasing racial divisiveness accompanied by patriarchy, with women of all races subordinate to males. We argued that the 'impact of this unique cultural history can be expected to produce unique behaviours and tensions in the workplace' (Booysen and Nkomo, 2010a, p. 220). We then gave an overview of the cultural diversity in South Africa, with its 11 official languages, eight religions, predominantly Christian, and 'all differences' protected under the Constitution.

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