Racial Discrimination in Southern Africa: A True Life Experience

Racial Discrimination in South Africa

I recently published a post that took a look at racism in the US and tribalism in Nigeria. One of the readers who responded to that article was Misggrace, the author of the blog, Forgotten Empathy.

Misggrace has been a victim of racism herself. Although my post which she responded to examined the issues of racial discrimination and prejudices with specific references to America and Nigeria, she expanded the discussion by sharing her personal experience of racism as a black foreigner living in Southern Africa.

I have her kind permission to share the story here so we can all see things for ourselves:

In Misggrace’s words

…Discrimination is something that really pricks me because I have experienced it. For the life of me, I just cannot understand why people choose to look down on other people because of intangible attributes/features.

The funny thing is that you don’t have to go as far as America to witness and feel the effect of racism. Come down to the southern part of Africa, you would see and feel it yourself. It’s more transparent in South Africa and Namibia than in other Southern African countries.

You can google some of the stories of how whites treat Black workers in South Africa, you would be disappointed. I must say that there are good white folks out there that don’t belittle other people.

Racial discrimination
Misggrace: Forgotten Empathy

The first time I visited South Africa, we stayed in a neighbourhood at Randsburg and due to the condescending attitude of white folks towards us, it dawn on me that we were in a predominantly white neighbourhood. There were police cars patrolling the area more often and if you are black, you automatically become a suspicious character. 

Most of the black people you see around the area were cleaners and gardeners and if you were not wearing the attire for this domestic duties, the police patrolling will ask for ID’s. I was so disappointed.

We rented a house for one week in Ransburg because we came to SA to do our Nigerian passport from Botswana. When we first arrived, I just couldn’t understand why the white old lady was acting rudely towards my family (I, my parents and 2 younger brothers).

My Dad being who he is paid no attention to the woman but I and my immediate younger brother did. I kept quiet because I was dumbfounded plus I was 8 years younger than I am now.

After this woman finally gave us the keys to the house we had rented, we had to walk about 200 meters to the house. Our last born was about 2 years and we pretty much had to carry him alongside all our luggage.

One of the domestic workers quickly volunteered to help us and he told us that they would usually drop their white clients to their houses but they could have at least pitied us since we had a small child and heavy bags. I was initially just annoyed that we had to walk a long distance to the house but knowing that it was because we were blacks, I was boiling in me.

It made me observant throughout our stay in SA and in deed, anytime I visit, I am observant. I tell you that it is painful to witness black people being belittled just because of their skin colour. Its was as if white people were afraid of black people in their neighbourhoods or work buildings.

Seeing a black person in a predominantly white area signals thief, beggars, cleaners unless of course you’re a black person with a known professional reputation.


Thank you Misggrace for sharing this story. I felt touched by it in no small measures. How I wish the human race did not have to experience racism anywhere around the world!

Do you have any personal experience of racial discrimination in any part of the world? Feel free to share your story in the comment section.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

9 thoughts on “Racial Discrimination in Southern Africa: A True Life Experience

  1. forusbyusblog Mar 20, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Thank you for your post ! I have travelled myself to South Africa, and my SA friends warned me of such experiences in some places. I went to both Johannesburg and Cape Town, and while I really felt a welcoming vibe in the former, the atmosphere in the latter almost took away the beauty of the place. I often found myself being the only Black customer in a restaurant, with people clearly staring at me, and the same on the beach. It is a shame indeed, but at least I knew what to expect.
    It will definitely not prevent me from returning there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • VictorsCorner Mar 20, 2018 / 6:37 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your sharing your experience.


  2. Bruce Jan 28, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    Hi Victor, being prejudice comes in many forms and it isn’t just restricted to those who have a different skin colour although that is one of the more obvious forms. I’ve often wondered why it is that we almost automatically zoom in on those who are different from us, be it a mannerism they have, or a defect of any kind.

    Recent studies in DNA show that all of us can trace our ancestry back to Africa, which I think, is kind of ironic, when you stop to think about it. I have a gut feeling that a lot of our prejudice stems from a feeling of superiority, where we think we are better than someone else. And it should be noted that being prejudice is not restricted to only those who have a lighter or white skin colour. I’ve seen and experienced prejudice flow both ways. I actually think that all of us are prejudice in some ways, it could be education, upbringing, intelligence, success or failure and a host of other “particulars”.

    Short story is that it is all wrong, because regardless of what colour we are, we all are sinners and there is no “coloured section” at the feet of Jesus. Nor is there a section for the “educated” or a section for those who have been “successful”. God is no respecter of persons, He looks at the heart and last time I checked, we all have hearts. It is sad that prejudice exists, in all of it’s various forms but I fear is a condition of the human heart that has not come to understand how we all are alike, regardless of our skin colour, regardless of our education or upbringing or success or failure.

    We all are creations of our Creator, made in His image and we error if we think otherwise. And most importantly, we all need the saving Grace that God in His wisdom holds our to us, namely the acceptance and saving shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, to make us new. Thank you Victor for sharing your insights and also my thanks to Misggrace for her insights. Grace and blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    • VictorsCorner Jan 28, 2018 / 3:43 pm

      You are welcome Bruce, I totally enjoyed reading through your comment. Thank you so much for the contribution.

      Of course I agree that discrimination exists in many forms other than racism and tribalism. In my opinion more attention is given to those pair because they seem to be more obvious than others.

      But it has to be reiterated that discrimination is bad, irrespective of the form it is presented.

      Like you mentioned, all of us, skin colour notwithstanding, were created in the image of God and we all need the grace of God. Without God we are nothing.

      Oh by the way, your comment is good enough for another rejoinder post on this blog. I don’t want my readers to miss out on the gems in the conversation, so I would like to upgrade from just comment to a full-bodied blog. Please, do I have your permission to post it?


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