Chapter 3 The Impasse of Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa: A Glance through the Lenses of Postcolonial Epistemic Violence and Racial Capitalism

In: Paradise Lost
Author:
Alexis Habiyaremye
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Abstract

With a Gini coefficient of 0.68 for income and 0.95 for wealth distribution, South Africa remains one of the most economically unequal societies in the world. This inequality, rooted in colonial dispossession and racial exploitation, still runs primarily along the racial divide. Policy initiatives taken to redress those economic injustices through the black economic empowerment (BEE) have however failed to bring economic empowerment to the formerly dispossessed. Ideologically situated in the same economic paradigm that created this racial inequality it purports to reverse, the implementation of BEE policy has merely resulted in the co-optation of a small black elite into the wealthy white capitalist elite of the apartheid-era. This study uses the twin lenses of epistemic violence and racial capitalism to shed light on the reasons for the failure of the BEE policies to bring about the economic empowerment it was intended to achieve.

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Paradise Lost

Race and Racism in Post-apartheid South Africa

Series:  Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies, Volume: 28

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