THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE USE OF PUBLIC FACILITIES
By: Samkele Sokhela
Senior black South Africans that lived during apartheid believe the new generation is fortunate enough to live in a democratic country since they lived under a very segregated system in the same country.
Racial segregation was enforced through legislation by the National Party government (1948 to 1994) under which the rights and associations of the majority of black inhabitants were curtailed. The Afrikaner minority was maintained by its government which promoted inequality between the country’s races.
The National Party government segregated education, medical care, beaches, parks and other public services that were often unequal in quality. But after 1994, these public services were then used equally.
73-year-old Emerald Sikhosana from Pietermaritzburg has never experienced the feeling of freely using some of the country’s public facilities. He believes that the new generation needs to be thankful and grateful for the freedom they enjoy; something that many people of his age did not have.
“We experienced hard times, whereby in trains, the first class was for whites,” said Sikhosana.
Sikhosana says the most random things that the young take for granted were very precious to them.
“I also remember the time when we were not allowed to use the city’s streets, and outside the town’s public toilets, it was written ‘whites only’, and now all those hardships have changed, and that’s good,” added Sikhosana.
Mdunge Zungu, another black South African senior citizen, says the fact that their chances of using public facilities were scarce made their lives harder and different to today’s life.
“We went through many hardships and the fact that we were not given freedom to use public facilities gives you a bit of a hint of how we lived during the struggle. And today’s life is much easier compared to ours,” said Zungu.
Use of public facilities is usually taken for granted by the young.
The growing tendency of how everything is supposed to be given instead of earned is the norm. 20 years of democracy is still infant liberty for South Africa considering the lack of appreciation many citizens have.