chapter  5
18 Pages

Muslim identity in corporate South Africa

A reflexive approach
ByNasima Carrim

In this chapter, the experiences of Indian Muslim employees are explored, and it should be kept in mind that religious, ethnic and racial identities intersect in multiple ways, leading to different religious experiences in corporate South Africa. Over the past 22 years, South African workplaces have progressively become more heterogeneous (Carrim, 2015). This heterogeneity extends beyond race and gender to include ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation and other markers of diversity. The presence of diverse groups of employees (one of them being Muslim) has become an important phenomenon in corporate South Africa as these groups have made inroads into all organizational levels and sectors (Paruk, 2015). Therefore, there is a need for South African organizations to keep up with a demographically diverse workforce in a socio-politically changing environment (Paruk, 2015). Additionally, globalization has increased the need for intercultural understanding and awareness (Paruk, 2015). In the apartheid era, South African society was segregated: people lived in separate areas for political reasons and had little or no social contact (Carrim, 2012). In the post-apartheid era, although South African organizations are demographically diverse, intergroup conflict still exists (Carrim, 2012). Statistics indicate that in 2011 Muslims comprised 2 per cent of the South African population (StatsSA, 2014). Of the 650,000 Muslims in South Africa, the majority belong to the Indian ethnic group (92.04 per cent), whereas individuals from white (0.32 per cent), African (3.60 per cent) and Coloured (4.04 per cent) ethnic groups make up the rest (StatsSA, 2014).