The most racist provinces in South Africa

Research commissioned by the City Press into experiences of racism in South Africa reveals which provinces in the country are perceived to have the biggest racism problem.

The research was conducted by Plus 4 Research, and is based on interviews with 1,635 people that are demographically representative of the country.

Plus 4 found that the vast majority of South Africans still hold beliefs of racial superiority and inferiority, which play out in education at home, at school and in the workplace.

Worryingly, respondents of all races felt that they had faced some form of racial discrimination in the past year – from both other racial groups as well as their own.

In summary, black respondents were the most attuned to the general definition of racial discrimination – noting that xenophobia and tribalism were included in their experiences.

White people said they felt like they were being punished for the past, with black people insulting them and expressing that they would be willing to kill whites.

Coloured respondents echoed the entrenched sentiment that “first we weren’t white enough, and now we’re not black enough”; while Indian respondents reported high rates of racial discrimination from both whites (83%) and blacks (75%).

Provincially, the data was broken down across three main areas of racial discrimination:

  1. Where respondents held a belief that some races were smarter than others;
  2. Where racial discrimination was experienced the most; and
  3. How racial discrimination made respondents feel in terms of feeling small and angry.

Racial views on intelligence

# Province % who believe some races are smarter than others
1 Free State 73%
2 Mpumalanga 69%
3 Limpopo 67%
4 North West 65%
5 Northern Cape 63%
South Africa 61%
6 Gauteng 60%
7 Eastern Cape 58%
8 KwaZulu Natal 57%
9 Western Cape 54%

Racial discrimination experienced

# Province % who experienced racism
1 Gauteng 34%
2 Northern Cape 33%
3 KwaZulu Natal 29%
4 Eastern Cape 27%
South Africa 27%
5 Free State 25%
6 North West 24%
7 Limpopo 23%
8 Mpumalanga 22%
9 Western Cape 20%

Feelings of anger

# Province % who were left feeling angry
1 Northern Cape 88%
2 KwaZulu Natal 86%
3 Mpumalanga 82%
4 Western Cape 81%
5 Eastern Cape 80%
5 North West 80%
South Africa 78%
7 Limpopo 76%
8 Gauteng 73%
9 Free State 64%

Similar research conducted by Plus 4 in 2006 found that 24% of over 2,000 respondents felt they had been discriminated against based on their race. This compares to the 27% in 2016.

Overall, every race group in the country feels more discriminated against based on race a decade on.

One point noted by the researchers was that income level had a big role in the experiences of respondents: more affluent people saw other racial groups as equals, while lower income groups deferred to people based on race.

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The most racist provinces in South Africa