In our future, skin colour won’t determine success
Mbali Ntuli , DA Youth Chairperson
20 March 2012
Today I am pleased to reveal the fourth poster in the DA Youth’s ‘In our future’ poster campaign series. The poster depicts a group of new-born babies lying side by side in a hospital nursery and the caption, ‘In our future their skin colour won’t determine their success.’ The image makes a statement about our vision for the future, namely, a place in which the melanin content of a person’s skin will have no bearing on the opportunities they are given.
Sadly, in contrast to this vision, South Africa today is a place in which race still plays a part in an individual’s prospects. As the DA Youth, we are striving towards a future in which every individual with talent and dedication, no matter their skin colour or background, has the same chance at building a better life for themselves.
How can we achieve this?
First, we need to ensure there is redress for the inherent disadvantages caused by our country’s past. This means that people of genuine, externally imposed disadvantage must be identified and given opportunities to improve their situation. The deep footprint of Apartheid means that many who are ‘born-free’ are still shackled by its legacy.
Secondly, it means moving away from race as the sole determinant of disadvantage. There are many ‘born-frees’ who have been given education and employment opportunities to succeed in the new South Africa. They want to be valued for what they can offer, not because of the colour of their skin. They want to move beyond Apartheid-era racial classification.
Nothing illustrates this better than the admissions policy debate currently raging at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where we launch this poster today. The Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) at UCT is fighting the current admissions policy, which uses race as the sole proxy for disadvantage. We want to move away from artificially predetermined racial outcomes towards equality of opportunity in order to realise genuine redress.
Equality of opportunity at UCT can be achieved by selecting applicants who have either demonstrated their academic ability, or who have demonstrated the potential to achieve excellent academic outcomes despite an inadequate primary and secondary education.
The university should not place itself in a position where it decides for individuals that they are disadvantaged whether they like it or not. It is a derogation of the principles of non-racialism to label someone as disadvantaged merely on the basis of their race and irrespective of their own idea of themselves.
In OUR future an individual’s success will be determined by dedication, talent and hard work, and anyone, from any background, class or race group, will be able to reach the pinnacle of success with these ingredients alone.