It’s been 22 years since the birth of democracy and South Africa is still licking its wounds in an attempt to seal the injustices of the past.

This year, the country experienced evidence of racial spats on social media, resulting in tensions.

Some are of the view that very little has been done to address racial issues. Incidents like that of Penny Sparrow, a Durban real estate agent who referred to black people as monkeys, soon came under the spotlight.

Many people are concerned about what happens next, whether this could have been the beginning of another war or the last kicks of a dying horse.

“I’m very afraid things are getting worse now, things aren’t the same here anymore, it scares me a lot cause I’m thinking now what’s happening next,” says one person.

“I feel that South Africa is going to head to civil war, rights are taken for granted now so I think it’s going downhill,” another person says.

“I hope racism becomes a thing of the past because I really don’t believe in it all; we all got to learn to live together and have a fantastic country and we need to do things right,” adds another person.

This year has also seen a number of protests by youth, predominantly students who were calling for a review of policies concerning the code of conduct especially with regards to black hair. That soon spread across provinces with the Eastern Cape’s former model C schools, Lawson Brown and Collegiate High, finding themselves in a position to review some rules and forced to consider amendments.

Eastern Cape Province education department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima says their primary objective is to see transformation and equality in every school.

“We have done some advocacy programmes that have yielded positive results because now even learners are able to say this school policy that was adopted by our parents is wrong because it’s not reflective of what we want it to be. In essence it favours a certain race over another, for us it’s an indication that the advocacy program that we were doing to ask parents participate meaningfully, to ask learners to be involved through the SRC is yielding positive results.”

The Communications Co-ordinator at the South African Human Rights Commission, Gushwell Brooks, says they’ve seen an alarming escalation of racial incidents. He says people seem to have forgotten the true meaning of democracy.

“The South African human rights commission obviously marks with great concern the escalation in number of incidents of racism and hate speech via social media and through other means as well and there’s actually a number of cases that we’ve dealt with,” says Brooks.

“It is important to raise the fact that South Africa’s democracy, constitutional democracy more specifically was built on the notion of acceptance and reconciliation and therefore the commission is very much disturbed by the fact that we seeing escalation in these types of racist incidents.”

The Justice and Correctional Services Ministry says it’s looking into ways of amending the Constitution to ensure that cases of racism are dealt with and justice is served.

Ministry Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says: “The problem with equality courts is that it does not lead to one getting a criminal record, you only get serial remedy or you get to pay, now that’s why we introduce the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill because then it criminalises the act and given the escalating rate at which they are now, it’s important for us to then go out to the people and get their views so that we get a collective wisdom which will then inform the final deal when it’s presented to Parliament.”

Despite the mixed reactions and fears of the people, it is clear that they all have one thing in common — to see South Africa transform into a country that sees no colour, where everyone lives in harmony and peace.