Thought Leadership

Poverty – The process of devaluing others

October 2022

-Sustained through Systems

Poverty in all its severity is the direct result of political, economic and societal exclusion, with which the Rainbow Nations people are all too familiar. Difficult to digest as the truth may be, many situations including our current political climate have exacerbated the depths of poverty, which has become difficult to leave unaddressed. Without addressing these inequalities, South African citizens are sure to remain in this crisis of poverty and inequality that may worsen over the years ahead. Profound though, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an inspiring sense of hope arises where ordinary citizens are showing a united front, coming together to rebuild South Africa.

Organisations in South Africa face daily challenges due to the legacy of apartheid that subtly, to this day, divide their workforces through somewhat blanketed racism, prejudice and stereotypes. The barriers hindering South Africa from achieving inclusion are evident in the lack of knowledge, understanding and acceptance of the many differences among the nation's people. Therefore, Diversity and Inclusion Awareness programmes must form an integral part of any organisation’s strategy, to ensure that dignity and respect are acknowledged while valuing people's differences by all employees, ultimately forming part of the organisation's DNA. By adhering to the government's legislative framework which fosters diversity and inclusion initiatives, organisations will enhance economic transformation and the participation of previously disadvantaged people.

Roy Gluckman is a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist who discovered his purpose while studying Law at the University of Cape Town. When engaging in materials linked to the Constitutional Laws on Human Rights, Equality and Social Justice, Roy Gluckman came across a shocking reality about the apartheid era and the issues of race which ultimately fractured his identity in its entirety. With this came a bitter understanding that his inherited beliefs were not the truth, that the world was not as it seemed to be and that BBBEE was not apartheid in reverse, as many seemed to believe. Roy expressed in conversation that once he acknowledged that his beliefs were different to the generational lies embedded in so many of his peers, he felt compelled to take his education to the world to create a positive outcome whereby all citizens may feel included.  

Inclusion has no endpoint. With time, it is envisaged that society will evolve and grow into the drivers of diversity required for transformation. The desired results being to accommodate one another and live in an environment where every person feels included. South Africans are conscious of the need to evolve though not everyone understands how to achieve this. Crucial conversations need to take place for this change to be affected. South Africans must acknowledge that to drive diverse and inclusive environments, there needs to be a realisation and understanding that there is currently exclusion. The country's history is so important when understanding exclusion which has for the longest time been systematically sustaining poverty through limited access or complete exclusion to education, healthcare facilities, employment opportunities, recreational facilities and the likes.

Here is the shocking truth, poverty is the result of exclusion designed and exerted through psychological violence to make certain groups of people feel less than they are. This type of violence has resulted in generation after generation inheriting the bonds of poverty, unable to penetrate and break the barriers of societal hierarchies. 

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