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n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The African Renaissance : a criminological perspective
"The African Renaissance demands that we purge ourselves of the parasites and maintain a permanent vigilance against the danger of the entrenchments in African society of this rapacious stratum with its social morality according to which everything in society must be organised materially to benefit the few ... To achieve an African renewal in politics, in economics, in social life and in culture we have to act together as Africans. Of this I think that none can be in doubt. The question that remains is: How do we do it? And what arises from that is: Are we willing to do it"? (Mbeki 1999:295, 298).
Against these impressive statements of intent it is ironic that only a small economic black elite has benefited most from the democratisation of South Africa over the past ten years. While the known income of black people rose significantly from 29,9 percent to 35,7 percent almost all of this increase occurred amongst the top ten percent of black earners with an increase from 9 to 22 percent, while poorer black people "actually experienced a decline in income" (Mail & Guardian 28 January to February 2000).
The South African Development Community (SADC) is certainly one initiative from which the African Renaissance vision can gain momentum. However, there are certain criminogenic handicaps which need to be addressed.
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