SA identity based on race: study

South Africans are disillusioned with the idea of a united nation, according to the 2014 SA Reconciliation Barometer released on Wednesday.

Citizens’ desire for a united national identity had decreased from 72.9% in 2003 to 55% last year.

“Amidst realities of diversity and inequality, perhaps the idea of unity is simplistic and does not adequately capture these realities,” the report stated.

The barometer, published by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, looked at 10 years of data collected between 2003 and 2013.

The report was entitled “Reflecting on Reconciliation: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future”.

Probing deeper into identity, the research found more people were associating with their race as an important marker of their identity.

Despite increased racial identity, interracial mistrust had decreased from over 40% to 30% in the last decade.

The report interpreted the results as the country opening up the space to move towards a shared identity of transformation rather than assimilation, characterised by difference, power, and conflict.

Data was collected during face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample across all provinces. The 2013 sample was from 1,989 metro inhabitants and 1,601 non-metro inhabitants.

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