It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who first coined the term “rainbow nation” in order to describe post-apartheid South Africa. Ever since then the term has stuck. You see the thing about rainbows is that their colours never mix. With a rainbow this is not a problem, but with a country it is an immense struggle which we have been failing to overcome for more than 20 years.
I was born in South Africa and I started critically thinking about the idea of a rainbow nation when I went to France at the age of 17. That’s where I saw what a “Smarties nation” (for the lack of a better name) looks like. Interracial friend groups, – romantic relationships, – families, you name it. When I got back in South Africa though, all I could see was division. It is all I still see.
The problem is: No matter how hard we seem to try, the colours of the rainbow have never mixed, and at this rate, they never will.