Interracial communication in South Africa: is cultural convergence possible?

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Schutte, P. J.
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Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State
As the media confirms the growing gap between citizens with different ethnic or racial origins in certain European countries, the lack of meaningful intercultural interaction within the Rainbow Nation in South Africa is even worse when recent occurrences are taken into consideration. Acting on erroneous perceptions and irresponsible labelling of people can pose a significant danger to tolerance and peaceful co-existence in South Africa; it could even be a threat to democracy. This article endeavours to reflect on the “climate” which would enhance or prevent interracial communication, in particular. The qualitative and post-structural approach of Iben Jensen (2008) has been applied. The aim of the model is to allow the researcher to “think through an intercultural communication process and reflect upon it from a new perspective”. The proposition can be made that the possibility of meaningful interracial communication is slim, unless the races take the different contexts within a democracy into consideration, not misuse the power or lack of power of their position, avoid stereotyping, put the past behind them, communicate in a cultural sensitive manner about “emotional topics” and ask the question: Do pronouncements and the meaning attached to them change if it is communicated by someone from another race?
Intercultural interaction, South Africa, Interracial communication
Schutte, P. J. (2013). Interracial communication in South Africa: is cultural convergence possible?. Communitas, 18, 184-202.