The Rainbow Myth: Dreaming of a Post-Racial South African Society

South Africa's transition from the racist apartheid regime to a democratic rainbow nation in 1994 has been admired worldwide. Its apparently peaceful reconciliation and emerging economic power made South Africa a global player. Nevertheless, with the ANC in power for over twenty years, one would have expected a change from former racist and colonial structural policies. Although the so-called 'Rainbow Nation' proclaims “unity in diversity”, racialisation and identity politics in South Africa have not evolved much from apartheid’s pattern. Its contradictions can be observed through actual examples such as debates around land expropriation, fees must fall movements and the striking racial inequalities. This year, South Africa is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela to honour his humanitarian values and aptitude as a national hero. Where does the rainbow nation stand after Nelson Mandela? Are his ideas of social justice and equality implemented in today’s rainbow nation? Or were these broken promises? This paper will trace back the original mission of a rainbow nation and compare them with the present situation.