"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
How to protect your child from abuse right under your roof

How to protect your child from abuse right under your roof

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve says child abuse can at times be perpetrated by someone a parent loves, lives with or is in love with.

Mouse sperm stored in space suggests humans could reproduce on other planets

Mouse sperm stored in space suggests humans could reproduce on other planets

Naked Scientist Chris Smith shares the latest scientific discoveries and answers your fascinating questions.

Local authors pen books on womanhood and how to make Africa a better place

Local authors pen books on womanhood and how to make Africa a better place

Two South African authors have written two apt books: on the struggles of being a black woman and how to develop the Continent.

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
Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says her department will respond to all Zimbabweans under special dispensation.

Pick n Pay's magnificent 7 errors with Super Animals cards

Pick n Pay's magnificent 7 errors with Super Animals cards

Pick n Pay has been alerted by customers to errors on the latest Super Animals cards.

Budget 2017: DA hoped for spending cuts, not tax increases

Budget 2017: DA hoped for spending cuts, not tax increases

The DA believes that raising taxes is not the answer to South Africa's economic woes and propose more cost-cutting for government.

5 most important years in anyone’s life (when it comes to investing)

5 most important years in anyone’s life (when it comes to investing)

How old are you? Financial advisor Warren Ingram discusses the five most important ages in anyone’s investment career.

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.