By: Kathleen Storey
South Africa – The Rainbow Nation. Post-democracy South Africa is often affectionately referred to as The Rainbow Nation, due to the diverse history and cultural backgrounds of the South African people. With 12 official languages, 9 geographically diverse provinces, and a rich history that has provided us with a flamboyant mixture of music, fabrics, flavours and designs, our nation truly is the epitome of a rainbow. The Rainbow Nation is a term that describes South Africa well, both figuratively and literally, as we all know that rainbows appear after a storm and our country has seen, and no doubt will still see, many storms.
Just as a good curry, seshebo, or potjie, needs a generous mix of spices, ground together and left to simmer away for hours and hours, so a democratic society needs a generous mix of bold leaders, whose actions build upon those before them, and left, over years, become woven into the fabric of that society. The South Africa history is coloured with many bold leaders, from the first Khoi hunter-gathers, to the Bantu immigration, to colonialization and liberation, to today, as we stand firm in 25 years of democracy. As these histories have run through our country, they have made their marks on our nation and our people and added the colours that make up our South African rainbow.
Throughout Heritage month, as we look back at what it is that makes us South African, and celebrate all that we have become, let us appreciate all the “colours” and “spices” that have made South Africa the proud nation we are today. As we show appreciation for our own personal cultures, let us take time this month to consider how the other cultures represented within South African have contributed to our vibrant heritage. Considering the question, “what is seshebo”, and the answer that followed, “everything on the plate that is not pap”, we are provided with the perfect analogy – what is South African heritage – it is everything in this beautiful country of ours, other than the ground.