"Being colourblind is dangerous"

The concept of a rainbow nation has been questioned post-1994 and perceived by some as an idealistic attainment.

Author and human rights advocate Sisonke Msimang has provided critique on the first ten years of South Africa's democratic dispensation and the reconciliatory approach used to attain this.

She explores why the sentimentalism associated with diversity is problematic in the face of deep inequalities, as well as injustices.

This is my constant quest no matter what I am writing about.... part of what compels me is this idea that I am always interested in what is happening underneath the news stories and the skin of the politics.

Sisonke Msimang, author

On romanticising the values of multiculturalism whilst acknowledging the differences that persist, Msimang says she is still grappling with it.

She does, however, believe that the terminology used to define diversity is a starting point.

Misimang says South Africa needs to find a broader means of building social cohesion without ignoring racial divisions and tensions that exist.

It is very difficult thing to do in part because the rainbow project has been discredited, because multiculturalism, diversity and all these sentimental words are often used to prop up people who want to continue to be unjust.

Sisonke Msimang, author

To put it bluntly lots of white South Africans love the terms, because in lots of societies those are the words used to protect minority rights....in the South African context its kind of upside down. In this context the white minorities are very powerful, the white minority has the vast majority of economic power.

Sisonke Msimang, author

Pluralism sort of lets people off the hook and that's part of why people want to throw out the rainbow nation idea.

Sisonke Msimang, author

Being colourblind is dangerous.

Sisonke Msimang, author

Being aware of different races does not mean we can't build a nation together, she argues. Race is a reality and needs to be part of the analysis. Black people cannot afford to ignore race, she adds.

Part of my interest in diversity is talking about the other South Africans who we never talk about, Coloured people, Indian people, black people. How do we get along without whiteness always being the reference point, the central part of our narrative.

Sisonke Msimang, author

Speaking on recent anti-Zuma protests and a general response from groups who refused to partake criticising those marching for protecting their own interests, Msimang says politicians have often exploited this.

Jacob Zuma did not create the divide, South Africans are so divided that we do not even know how to protest together yet.

Sisonke Msimang, Author

So my question is what is the basis upon which we are South Africans if we continue to be so deeply divided?... Where else do we look to find bonds of solidarity?

Sisonke Msimang, Author

Click below to listen to the full interview on why being colour blind is dangerous...

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Dr Blade Nzimande says state capture should be dealt with radically

Dr Blade Nzimande says state capture should be dealt with radically

Dr Blade Nzimande, Secretary General of the SACP discusses the SACP, ANC and state capture with Eusebius McKaiser.

Maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortion a cry for reproductive justice

Maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortion a cry for reproductive justice

Two medical experts unpack the importance of reproductive justice in SA and recognising a woman's right to choose.

[LISTEN] Naked Scientist tells us how dreaming occurs and why people sleeptalk

[LISTEN] Naked Scientist tells us how dreaming occurs and why people sleeptalk

Naked scientist Chris Smith explains brain activity associated with dreaming, as well as why you are likely to talk in your sleep.

LISTEN: The color line has been crossed many a time - Rachel Dolezal

LISTEN: The color line has been crossed many a time - Rachel Dolezal

Dolazel is visiting South Africa for a talk on non-racialism. She speaks to Stephen Grootes on being 'trans-black' .

Over 70% of South Africans do not experience daily racism - SAIRR survey

Over 70% of South Africans do not experience daily racism - SAIRR survey

SA Institution of Race Relations reveals poll results on racism in SA offer hope for race relations in the country.

'Hysteria over racism based on a handful of incidents', says IRR

'Hysteria over racism based on a handful of incidents', says IRR

The Institute of Race Relations says that a few racial incidents shared on social media don't reflect the state of affairs in SA.

Popular articles
'Land restitution failed because Government is the biggest owner of land'

'Land restitution failed because Government is the biggest owner of land'

Bruce Whitfield interviews Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's advisor Chris Malikane and Business Leadership SA's Bonang Mohale.

Winter blues got you down? What you must know about Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter blues got you down? What you must know about Seasonal Affective Disorder

Don't brush off that yearly feeling or a seasonal funk. Here's how to help keep your mood and motivation up throughout the year.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza writes about "leadership injudiciousness" in the party

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza writes about "leadership injudiciousness" in the party

Concerned ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza writes a heart felt Facebook post detailing immoral leadership and personal challenges.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

NSFAS to reopen 2017 applications

NSFAS to reopen 2017 applications

National Student Financial Aid Scheme says it will reopen 2017 loan applications after receiving requests for deadline extension.

'Collect experiences, NOT possessions!' - Paul Theron (Vestact MD)

'Collect experiences, NOT possessions!' - Paul Theron (Vestact MD)

Bruce Whitfield interviews the razor-sharp tongued Vestact MD Paul Theron about his money hopes, fears, successes, failures, etc.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 reasons why the tourism industry is sceptical about the latest numbers

5 reasons why the tourism industry is sceptical about the latest numbers

The tourism industry is questioning the veracity of the surprisingly upbeat tourism figures and the timing of their release.