The experiences of being black in the South African workplace

The psychosocial condition and socioeconomic position of black employees in the South African workplace remain unchanged in spite of the advent of democracy in 1994. The black employee’s racial experience in the workplace is indicative of the normative experience of blackness in contemporary South African society that is in agreement with the everyday familiarity of socioeconomic disadvantage and psychosocial subjugation that affects the overall existential experience of blackness. As such, hostile racial interactions in the workplace reflect that the socioeconomic and psychosocial changes expected post-apartheid are materialising at seemingly substandard rates. The current investigation utilised a phenomenological approach to the broader critical psychology of race the interpretive research paradigm and semi-structured interviews to direct thematic data analysis techniques that informed the study conclusions. The participant group consisted of eight tertiary educated black employees, one male and seven females, with an age range of 21 to 27 years, with workplace experience ranging from two weeks to four years. The results of this investigation significantly shows the inefficiency of the democratic redress policy in the facilitation of workplace diversification, and its ineptitude in expediting psychosocial and socioeconomic inclusion, integration and participation such that the existential black employee’s experience of racial identity in the post-apartheid South African workplace is not adversarial. The findings of this investigation suggest that the instances of on-going racism in the workplace are the result of an institutional socioeconomic investment in racial inequality that facilitates hostile racial interactions in the workplace.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social and Psychological Research. July 2019
Magubane, Nokulunga Ntobeko (2019) The experiences of being black in the South African workplace, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>