• Part of
    Ubiquity Network logo
    Join Mailing List

    Read Chapter
  • No readable formats available
  • Rainbow Nationalism as a Philosophy of National Unity in South Africa: Interpellation and Disillusionment

    Olerato Kau Mogomotsi

    Chapter from the book: Dokman F. & Kankindi A. 2023. Beyond the Spirit of Bandung: Philosophies of National Unity: Secular or Religious?.


    Rainbow Nationalism is a Post-Apartheid South African philosophy of national unity. The South African state, and its emergent national elites, sought to mend divisions of a racially oppressive past to successfully construct a nation unified in its diversity, and beyond its previous adversities. As a philosophy of national unity, Rainbow Nationalism is premised on a country unified behind a narrative of triumph over adversity through a principled commitment to reconciliation, non-racialism, liberal democracy, and respect for universal human rights. The South African state’s commitment to building national unity, from a divisive and oppressive Apartheid past, can be located more broadly in the plight of countries in the Global South to also build their respective unified national consciousnesses, after battling a colonial and contentious history. Interestingly, as a normative orientation and shared political philosophy for states in the Global South, the Bandung Spirit can be seen to encapsulate some of the key values manifest in Rainbow Nationalism. Worryingly, attempts to encourage the South African public into assuming Rainbow Nationalism as a normative orientation have been met with continued disillusionment. I contend that the disillusionment that philosophies of national unity like Rainbow Nationalism face results from their inability to maintain a clear distinction between treating the philosophy as a present ontological state and as a teleology. I argue that the ability to make the teleology of the philosophy of national unity compatible with and in service to the social reality of nations is what may make a principled commitment to the Bandung Spirit exempt from the challenge of self-effacement.

    Chapter Metrics:

    How to cite this chapter
    Mogomotsi, O. 2023. Rainbow Nationalism as a Philosophy of National Unity in South Africa: Interpellation and Disillusionment. In: Dokman F. & Kankindi A (eds.), Beyond the Spirit of Bandung. Nijmegen: Radboud University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.54195/FLRI3273_CH09

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

    Peer Review Information

    This book has been peer reviewed. See our Peer Review Policies for more information.

    Additional Information

    Published on Nov. 30, 2023


    comments powered by Disqus