Freedom Trek: South Africa


– South Africa’s history is clouded by the horrors of colonialism, racism, socialism and violence. Yet its largest city, Johannesburg, is one of the financial
centers of the world, poised to bring new opportunity for all. I traveled across two hemispheres to explore the troubled history of apartheid and to talk to South Africans fighting for a future
of freedom and equality. (light electronic music) Hey, we just arrived in
Johannesburg, South Africa. And we’re going to the Apartheid Museum. If you know anything about the culture and the politics of South Africa, you know that everything has been defined by race and the
government’s discrimination against black people. Legalized racism here in this country so infamous in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Mandela’s release from prison. – [Announcer] With Nelson
Mandela, a free man, taking his first steps
into a new South Africa. – We’re gonna check out all this stuff. We start at the Apartheid Museum. We’re gonna go to his home town of Soweto, one of those neighborhoods created by the apartheid government
to segregate blacks from the rest of civil society. We’re gonna drink some beer. And most awesome, we’re gonna be hanging out with free market
reformers from across Africa. Who’re trying to make sure
that liberty and peace and prosperity is accessible
to everybody in this country. (light upbeat music) (melancholy music) “To be free is not merely
to cast off one’s chains, “but to live in a way
that respects and enhances “the freedom of others,” Nelson Mandela. That, of course, was the ethos
of the peaceful revolution that Nelson Mandela led
that led to more democracy, the breakdown of apartheid, and a different way of
thinking about things. And in a sense, he was
the George Washington of modern South Africa. (melancholy music) At the Apartheid Museum you’re randomly selected as white or non-white. I’ve been selected as non-white so I’m gonna get a sense for what it was like to be segregated separately based on the state’s edict. (melancholy music) – I do have memories of apartheid
although, in the 1980’s, the system of petty apartheid, so forcing people to sit in
separate benches in parks. This would have been a segregated area. That system was starting to unravel and there were some reforms
that were taking place. The real catalyst was the release of Nelson Mandela and
other freedom fighters from Robben Island and from
prison in the early 1990’s. And then the first democratic
elections were in 1994. – Remember, at that time black people had been economically constrained by the apartheid administration. And so they tended to see themselves as have-nots and so that’s
how we saw ourselves. And so it was like Karl
Marx was talking to us. And so that went on for quite a while. (melancholy music) – So we’re heading to Soweto
Township this morning, south of Central Johannesburg. Infamous as one of the places
where the apartheid government forced black people who had
been living inside the city, they took their property,
moved them to the south in the hopes of keeping
the races separate. It also happens to be the
place where there was not one but two Nobel Prize winners, both Nelson Mandela and Desmond
Tutu, who lived in Soweto. We’re gonna get to the
bottom of the story today. (airy upbeat music) (acoustic guitar strumming) We’ve just arrived in
Kliptown, South Africa, outside of Soweto, and
this is a special place. It’s a lot of really important symbolism. The pillars in this
tower over here represent the informal nature of
this gathering place. This was not really a
legal place to gather, and yet black people gathered here. It also happens to be the
place where, legally, in 1994, they were allowed to vote
for the very first time. You could imagine, this is a sacred place, this is a special place. This is where democracy started to function in
post-apartheid South Africa. – [Announcerr] What started
as a peaceful protest degenerated into a
rampage and later exploded into a bloody conflagration. – We’re at the Hector
Pieterson Museum in Soweto. He is the student, the
13 year old student, who was shot in 1976 by the government during a student uprising. (gun firing) – That one photo galvanized a global movement against apartheid, the photo of dying Hector Pieterson. The photographer that took that photo was detained by the police but he knew what he had and he hid the footage in his sock and smuggled
it out of the country. (lively African music) So this is Nelson Mandela’s home. He lived on the same
street as Desmond Tutu. I’m going in to check it out. (lively African music) – South Africa was declining
during the final years of apartheid and then
under Mandela we started rising on all of these indices. We became more free,
there was privatization, liberalization and the economy grew. Then, unfortunately, about 10 years after the transition, we’ve plateaued off and now we are declining. We are tumbling again
on all of these indices. Now, that is partly due
to the ruling alliance, the African National Congress alliance, the ANC, Mandela’s party,
collapsing internally. It’s internally falling apart. – [Announcer] South
Africa’s President seems out of step with many in his own party. A politician in survival mode. Facing anger and sustained
protests from the people. – And they are desperately
trying to survive and they are promising
workers that if they work for them they will get all the wealth, the ill-gotten wealth of white people. They will take their land
and give it to black people. – So you knew I was gonna do it, I found my first craft
beer in Johannesburg. And this one’s actually from Cape Town, to the south of here, and it is delicious. We’ve also gotten into
our first political row. We were supposed to go with
Property Rights Reformers tomorrow to a small village, where they would convey
formal deed and title to the houses that people are living in. Part of the reforms, post-apartheid, was giving individuals property rights. But without the formal
title they can’t pass that property on to their
kids and their grandkids. The ANC, the government
here in South Africa, discovered that this was going to happen and they shut it down. We were told that it
would be unsafe to go on with this ceremony, so
we’re not gonna do that. But we’re gonna find a way to talk to property rights advocates and the recipients in
these villages anyway. In the meantime, I’m having a beer. – [Mandela] That goes to
the crisis in our country of the massive divisions and inequality left behind by apartheid. But the day of reckoning
against all these people who are responsible for your problems, for the problems that
you have mentioned to us, the 27th of April next year
is the day of reckoning. We are going to bury the National Party. (crowd cheers) – Nelson Mandela was elected
the first black president here in South Africa in 1994. And the promise was about equality and equal treatment under the law. And economic prosperity
spread across the population, regardless of whether or not
you were born black or white. – He is the symbol of resistance. He is the symbol of the
African National Congress. He is the symbol of the
hope of this country. – But today there’s a
crisis because attached to that promise is a promise
that you own your own property, that you control your own destiny. And so many black South
Africans don’t have clear title to their own homes. Even though they’ve lived
there their entire lives, maybe their parents did before them. – I’m working on the Khaya
Lam Land Reform Project, which was a project that
we initiated in 2010. But it took over 2 1/2
years of negotiations with the local municipality
in order to convince them of the importance of property rights and why it is important to restore dignity to the members of their community. – So in 1913 the government at the time, which was a very new government in terms of South Africa. South
Africa as we know it today only came about in 1910
as a unified state. They imposed a very pernicious piece of legislation called The Land Act. And that robbed black people
of a title over their land and any rights that they
had over their property. And that was designed in order to support migrant labor flows to Johannesburg, which was built on the back
of the mining industry. And that legacy we still live with today. And today many black
people still don’t enjoy private property rights, even though they have resided in an informal
home for many, many years. For all intents and
purposes that home is theirs but they don’t have the legal
backing to support that. – So, there’ve been two poster children of the Khaya Lam Land Reform Project. One of them is Mrs. Maria Mothupi who received the title
deed to her property in 2013 when she was 99 years old. She’s not the only person. Nasana Shabalala, who
also received the title to her property when
she was 100 years old. That’s the focus of this project. – The fundamental nature
of racism in South Africa was very much premised on
the government deciding who could associate with who based on the color of your skin. It was not a free market system. It was exactly opposite of that. Everything was regulated
from the top down. Everything was about social
control and social engineering. Racism, when you think about it, is the ultimate collectivist ideology. It defines people based on
the color of their skin, treats everybody as a
group not as an individual. Not based on the content
of their character, as Martin Luther King so famously said. I think the key to
understanding the solution here, is breaking down those barriers. Making sure that there’s property rights. That there’s rights
for people to associate with each other regardless of who they are or where they came from. – I think we are moving into
being a mature democracy where people who go to
the polls don’t vote along racial lines, but
they choose which party to vote for on the basis
of that party’s policies. And in the process we will
get really radical parties, fascist parties, libertarian
or liberal parties, free market parties. But my best guess is, we
will move back towards more of a free market
capitalistic liberal, classical liberal, paradigm. That’s what I expect to
happen, it might not. But either way I think
we will have gone through a cathartic process, which is a good thing and long overdue, and I’m in favor of. So, I’m a bit of a Pollyanna. I’m quite cheerful about the problems that other people see in South Africa. (upbeat electronic music)

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