Skip to main content

By the numbers - South Africa after Mandela

Since the death of Nelson Mandela earlier this month, the world's attention has been on South Africa and how the country has fared in the years after his presidency. Despite improvements since Mandela was released from prison in 1994, educational inequality is still stark.

As a child, Mandela, the son of a Thembu tribal chief, was expected to become a leader. He attended a Methodist school, then went on to study at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa's Eastern Cape and at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The country was then under apartheid, a system of segregation in which people were classified into one of four racial groups: black, white, coloured and IndianAsian. This separation affected all areas of life and black people were provided with far worse public services, including schools.

In 2003, while visiting the University of the Witwatersrand, Mandela said that South Africa had inherited a highly dysfunctional educational system from the apartheid era. "It is one of our major tasks of reconstruction to build an educational system that provides quality opportunities for all our people," he said.

Last week, Angie Motshekga, South Africa's current basic education minister, said that the biggest challenge facing the education system was improving the skills of teachers.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you