About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Level of education

According to the 1991 census, 84.3% of South Africans over the age of seven outside the TBVC are literate. This is defined as people who can speak, read and write at least one language.The Development Bank of Southern Africa puts adult literacy in South Africa at 73.2% and, according to the Department of National Health and Population Development, the literacy rate is 69% (TBVC included). Estimates of functional literacy are as low as 50%. Over 3-million people over 18 outside the TBVC have no formal education at all.

According to the census, over 90% of the population over 18 with no formal education are black while 84% of the population with university education are white. Of the people whose highest level of education was a first degree on census day, over 82% were white and of those with postgraduate degrees, 88% were white. Blacks with doctorates comprised a mere 6.4% of the population outside the TBVC in 1991.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.