A descriptive study of racial identity amongst University of Natal, Durban students in a post-apartheid South Africa.
It has almost been a decade since the inception of a 'New South Africa', without apartheid, which separated South Africans and classified them hierarchically according to their 'race'. The 'eradication' of apartheid has meant that South Africans have had to re-look at issues around racial identity without a dominating apartheid ideology. The purpose of the research was to describe and to look at some of the features and dynamics concerning racial identity that are prevalent in a post-apartheid South Africa. This was done by exploring the nature and type of interactions University of Natal Durban (UNO) students (doing a Human Behaviour and the Environment module) had with persons not from their own racial group, prior to coming to UNO as well as at UNO. The possible challenges, threats and opportunities students felt were afforded them because of their racial group were also explored. Literature concerning issues of racial identification in South Africa and other parts of the world was also examined. A descriptive research design, using a triangulated research methodology incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods was used in the study. A non-probability sampling method with reliance on 83 available law, community development, nursing and psychology students representing the four racial classifications in South Africa, namely black, white, coloured and Indian was used. Data were collected through observations as well as through a self administered structured questionnaire. The findings of the research suggest that issues related to racial identification in a post-apartheid South Africa, for black, white, coloured and Indian students is in turmoil and requires reconstruction. The findings further indicated that questions about affirmative action and the future of non-black South Africans in South Africa is believed to be uncertain and negative. The issue of poverty and the internalised oppression and inferiority of black students was also identified to be problematic.