The Effects of Professional Mentoring and Coaching as a Racial Integration Intervention in South African Workplaces

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South Africa is a country with a history of deep racial divisions. This country is also blessed with a racial and ethnic diversity in its population. The racial division affected almost all sections of the South African society including the workplaces. The apartheid government used racial discriminative laws to divide employees in the workplace. In 1994 South Africa became a democratic society with a new democratic constitution under the leadership of Nelson Mandela who lead the country through national reconciliation. One of the priorities of Nelson Mandela’s government was to build use the strength of the diverse South African society by building a true “rainbow nation”. The idea of nation building and respecting diversity is also articulated in the preamble of the constitution which says:
“We, the people of South Africa, Recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to ¬
• Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
• Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
• Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
• Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations” ((The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, 1996)
One of Human Resources Management best practices that seems to be successful in bringing about racial integration in South African organisations is professional mentoring and coaching. Although mentoring and coaching programmes are aimed at improving the performance of employees in organisations, these programmes have a major role to play in helping people from different racial and ethnic groups to understand each other better and work together in harmony.
This paper will explore the phenomenon of cross racial mentoring and coaching in the workplace as a key intervention used in South Africa to bridge the racial gap among employees from different races. Randomly selected case studies of cross racial mentoring and coaching relationships will be analysed with the aim of:
• Identifying the nature of cross racial mentoring and coaching relationships
• Identifying the effectiveness of mentoring and coaching relationships in minimising the effects of racial segregation in South African workplaces
• Identifying the role of cultural/racial differences on mentoring and coaching relationships
• Assessing how much has cross racial mentoring and coaching interventions contributed in fostering racial integration in South African organisations.

Keywords: Racial Integration, Diversity, Mentoring, Coaching, Racism
Stream: Economics and Management
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Mr Avhatakali Lazarus Nenungwi

Human Resource Development Specialist, Human Resources Management, University of South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa

Avhatakali Nenungwi is currently employed by the University of South Africa as a Human Resource Development Specialist. He is registered with the South African Board for Personnel Practitioners (SABPP) and the ETDP Seta as an ETD/HRD practitioner and Assessor respectively. He holds two postgraduate BTech degrees in Human Resources Management and Human Resource Development respectively, a three year National Diploma in Human Resources Management from the University of South Africa. He also holds a Certificate in Management Services from Tshwane University of Technology. He is currently completing his Masters Degree in Human Resources Management with the University of South Africa. Lazarus has designed, developed and facilitated several learning interventions for both public and private sector organisations in South Africa and other African states. In his involvement in the higher education sector he held a full-time lectureship position with the University of South Africa and he also lectures at the University of Johannesburg on a part time basis. Lazarus has recently co-authored a unit standard based textbook in Education Training and Development that is prescribed by several Higher Education institutions in South Africa. Lazarus has occupied the position of Organisation Development Consultant at UNISA. He was part of the team that designed the organisational structure of the new Unisa after the 2004 merger. He is currently employed by UNISA as a Human Resources Development Specialist, where he is in charge of management development.

Ref: I08P0715