The Republic of South Africa is a country which is extremely diversified regarding the prosperity and wealth of her citizens. This non-uniform distribution of goods and wealth is confirmed by the constantly increasing Gini coefficient, which is an index commonly used worldwide as a measure of inequality of income or wealth often called Coefficient of Social Unevenness. One specific problem which is characteristic for this country is the problem of the particularly disadvantageous situation of the black Africans living in South Africa whose average earnings constitute to be no more than just 13 per cent of the average wages received by a white person. However the primary aim of this article is to find and indicate these specific moments in art and culture when the phenomenon of poverty and social stratification which results from it finds its outcome in the artistic works of various artists. Some examples in the area of literature are the short stories written by Can Themba, especially „Kwashiorkor" or by Alex La Guma „A Walk in the Night" which are particularly meaningful. In his stories Can Themba described the frustrations of the university-educated urban black people; unavailable to realise their true potential because of the racial restrictions of apartheid and trying to balance their modern urban culture with the historical rural tribal one. On the other hand Alex La Guma's vivid style, distinctive dialogue, and realistic, sympathetic portrayal of oppressed groups have made him one of the most notable South African writers of the 20th century. A. La Guma was awarded the 1969 Lotus Prize for Literature for his works. In the fine arts the suggestive visions of poverty afflicting the black occupants of townships and Bantustans are present in great number in the black and white drawings, as well as brown sculptures created by the Khosa artist Mslaba „Dumile" Feni and Gerard Sekoto who is widely recognised as the pioneer the so-called „Black Art". David Mogano, Durant Sihlali, Welcome Koboka and James Salang are a group of artists who are all among the most interesting continuators of the watercolour tradition of creating colourful scenes from the ordinary life of townships. The political changes which occurred in South Africa in 1994 were expected to lead to the creation of the Rainbow Nation, that is a multi-coloured and multicultural society living in peace, harmony and prosperity. However many active artists in the last two decades, still remain very sensitive to various matters of social unevenness’s and poverty. Nowadays the major problem which is often raised by them in both literature as well as in fine arts is the ubiquitous threat connected with the untreated HIV and AIDS pandemia in South Africa.
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