SOUTH AFRICA AND BRAZIL SHARE important similarities but have significant differences. The origins of both nations were as European colonized societies. South Africa was colonized by the Dutch, who later intermarried with Germans and Huguenot settlers. The descendants of this ethnically mixed population are Afrikaners, who became the dominant group in South Africa. With the creation of apartheid—which categorized the population into three racial groups (White, Bantu or Black African, and Coloured)—South Africa became the most racially oppressive nation in Africa if not the world. It also became the wealthiest nation in Africa.
While apartheid became the official racial ideology and practice in South Africa, “racial democracy” became the institutionalized myth and ideology about race in Brazil. Writes do Nascimento (1999), “The myth of 'racial democracy' … depicted Brazilian society as virtually free of racial tensions due to the 'natural' propensity for miscegenation of the Iberian peoples, particularly the Portuguese” (p. 307). A major contradiction exists in Brazilian society: the notion of “racial democracy” coexists with the virtual exclusion of Afro-Brazilians from participation in many of the institutions of society, such as the world of business and the mass media (do Nascimento). Brazil has the largest Black population