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South Africa: Rainbow Nation Concept

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Introduction and focus

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu made the term rainbow nation official after the apartheid era. This term is a symbol of hope, promise and a country that has managed to reconcile after years of racial segregation. Societies historical problems were believed to be conquered through commitment to the ideals of national reconciliation and the rainbow nation. National reconciliation and the idea of the rainbow nation were generally regarded as the main supports of social cohesion and integration (Buqa, 2015). The colours of the rainbow succeed in represents South Africa because it is a country with different races, tribes, religions, 11 official languages, and 4 of the 6 different colours of the flag are visible on the rainbow. The most dominant races include Black African, Indian, Coloured and White. This country is spoilt with a variety of languages such as Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Pedi, Tswana, English, Tsonga, Swati, Ndebele, Sign Language and Sotho. Most South Africans can speak more than one language, English is the most popular (Buqa, 2015).

South Africa has experienced radical changes as a result of desegregation of schools, this created an opportunity for students from different cultural backgrounds to attend public schools of their choice, Black African students moved to previously white and Indian schools to search for quality education, this made a large percentage of white and Indian students to move to Model C schools which were more expensive, and not easily accessible to black African students who could not afford the school fees and transport, since these schools are far from Black communities (Vandeyar, 2010). Education is important for individual development in society, it affords a learner the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge that enable her/him to function in a modern society, it is considered as a tool for giving light to the structures of oppression and supplying learners with the tools to change those oppressive structures in society (Vandeyar, 2003). Culture is a vehicle of values developed by a community in the course of their economic and political life, the values they hold are the basis of their world point of view, and individual image of self, their identity as a people who look at themselves and to their relationship to the universe in a certain way (Vandeyar, 2003).

It remains unclear that even after many years of democracy what schools should do about the multiple cultural realities that are now represented in the South African schools, increased cultural and linguistic diversity in schools is a result of desegregation of schools. Black students are fluent in their mother tongue, which is one or more of the indigenous languages of South Africa. However, many of these students, because of existing educational infrastructures and trends of globalization, are now striving to obtain an education through the medium of English, which for some is a third or fourth language (Vandeyar, 2010). While other South-African citizens are still stuck between the ideological structures of the past and the ideals of the future, the educated and the uneducated, the rural citizens and urban townships, the informal settlements and the suburban residential areas. Other South Africans view Rainbow Nation as an empty term in the light of all the promises of the government while, they do not have water to drink or a place to sleep. They also do not receive the practical aid and help that they have been expecting (Buqa, 2015).

Rainbow Nation Concept

Ubuntu is the most important and distinctive feature of being humans in isiXhosa, people say, ‘Umntu ngumtu ngabantu’. This phrase is not easy to translate in English, it can be translated as ‘a person is a person through other people’ (Buqa, 2015). Ubuntu speaks of spiritual qualities such as generosity, friendliness, compassion, caring and sharing, which means that one could be rich in material possessions but still be without Ubuntu, This concept of Ubuntu was an attempt to bridge the gap of deeply instilled racial barriers in South Africa in order to bring harmony and healing (Tutu, 2011). Ubuntu is an African firmly fixed philosophical approach to human life. It would be misleading to speak of Ubuntu and then mistreat others because of their race, culture, creed, gender or status. Ubuntu demands respect for human dignity regardless of any outward appearances. South African’s can rediscover the spirit of Ubuntu through active engagement in fighting poverty (Buqa, 2015).

Black Africans are losing patience because since the negotiated settlement in 1994, not much has changed, there is still systemic and institutional racism that still plagues this country. White privilege is one of the biggest obstacles to real transformation, this is noticeable in high levels of racial incidents on our social landscape as well as in the offices where black employees are exposed to daily institutional ill-treatment by white bosses, co-workers and in daily interactions in the general public. The strong economic inequality between racial groups as a result of apartheid has always been a significant driver of aggregate inequality. In fact, this demonstrates that African inequality remained virtually unchanged (Gumede, 2017). Biko’s critique on Ubuntu challenges the peaceful, and untroubled Rainbow Nation. Xenophobia, racism, gang activities, corruption, inequality, nepotism and poverty are not part of Ubuntu and are not presenting the ideal of the Rainbow Nation of Madiba (Buqa, 2015).

Vision and Mission Interpretation

Our Vision is to maintain the values of honesty and integrity and to promote excellence in all that we do. We will ensure that Randfontein High School remains at the forefront of the learner’s education in South Africa and that all stakeholders have the belief and purpose to influence the future of our beautiful country. It is our commitment to provide learners with skills, attitudes and values to deal with the social, political and economic demands of a democratic society, so that they may excel in the choices they make after graduating.

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Our mission is to promote:

  • human dignity and equal opportunity;
  • maximum freedom of the individual within the context of maximum good for all;
  • excellence according to the talent and interest of each person;
  • a commitment to the search for truth, the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills;
  • a sound set of values including a respect for, and service of, the community and the environment;
  • ‘cheerfulness with industry’ as our motto supports

Value selection and motivation


Creates an environment of trust within the household, and community. honesty helps the child to open about things that bother them, enabling other’s to help, teaching children to be honest relieves them from the burden of carrying lies, parents can teach their children honesty by being role models, and showing the child that it is part of life to make mistakes and there is no need to lie about anything. Religious institutions are powerful places that can shape a child’s life, teaching a child to be honest makes the children more courageous and responsible, through teachings like the 10 commands is a good way of shaping a child’s life. Openly speaking about racism will enable our children build a non-racial society.


Teaching learner’s the value of Ubuntu will encourage them to be more respectful to other people as Ubuntu is seen understood as an essence of being human. Being respected by important people in our lives growing up helps us to be more respectful toward others, respecting other people makes one feel good and boost the self-confidence of the respected person making them feel safe. Respect is important because without respect the school environment would not be a good place, learners need mutual respect amongst themselves and they also need to show respect for the teachers, in this way teaching and learning will be productive. This can be achieved by teaching learner to listen to each other’s opinion, learner’s can also learn to accept when they are wrong towards the other.


Excellence is the quality of being outstanding and extremely good, this for learners should go beyond just academic excellence, children have a better chance of attaining a lot of opportunities, that could be beneficial to their futures and it can also reduce poverty that was left in the past injustice of apartheid. Teaching excellence require a person that promotes a wide range of ideas and the open expression of diverse opinions while maintaining an atmosphere of integrity, civility and respect. Teaching excellence includes teaching the child to be a critical thinker, to be creative, to be cooperative, to be good a communicator and to manage information.


Teaching learners commitment is one of the most important aspects of teaching because as a teacher you expect full commitment from your learners this will not be possible if learners don’t know the value of it, commitment is powerful for accomplishments of any task set out to be accomplished, people with lack of commitment usually leave things undone, this is a bad attitude to life, and it can delay a person’s success by wasting talent, a commitment is a binding pledge. Children need to be taught this value so that they can finish their assignments and home-works. South Africa needs leaders who are committed to serve their people, a person who is committed to ensuring that all the promises that were made to people after the 1994 elections.


In conclusion South Africa is not so far of from the ideal of rainbow nation considering the past of this country, transformation is not easily attainable given that some people still see black and white, the fact that most South Africans have a freedom of movement, choice of educational institution, place of residence and the affirmative action in place. South Africa will be a Rainbow nation, this is might take longer than expected. Through the teachings of good values, morality and consistent open talks about the history of this country and literature on the effects of racial division will bring consolidation and knowledge to the upcoming generations

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South Africa: Rainbow Nation Concept. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from
“South Africa: Rainbow Nation Concept.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022,
South Africa: Rainbow Nation Concept. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2022].
South Africa: Rainbow Nation Concept [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2022 Dec 3]. Available from:
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