South African President Cyril Ramaphosa asked the United Nations to prioritise reparations for communities whose ancestors were sold into slavery.
“We support the adoption of special measures, including affirmative action and targeted financial assistance, as restitution to communities whose ancestors were sold into slavery,” Ramaphosa said in a speech Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of a United Nations declaration on racism.
He also called for greater representation of “African descendants” at global institutions and positions of leadership in order to address historic discrimination.
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade led to the enslavement and removal of 12.5 million people from Africa between 1501 and 1875, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. The cost of reparations to the descendants of slaves is at least $4.9 trillion and may be nearly triple that, according to Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black studies at Birmingham City University.
Ramaphosa’s remarks came on the same day a South African court ruled that a government bailout for tourism companies was illegal because it used race-based criteria to determine those who qualify. On Tuesday, South Africa’s High Court struck down changes to mining regulations that required companies to bring on new Black shareholders
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