Rainbow or mirage?

Zinhle Mapumulo, Katlego Moeng and Sibongile Mashaba

Zinhle Mapumulo, Katlego Moeng and Sibongile Mashaba

As millions go out to vote today, Sowetan asked some of them if they believe that the rainbow dream of former president Nelson Mandela and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu was still alive.

l Jimmy Maphoto, 36, of Protea Glen, Soweto, believes South Africa has come a long way, but needs to improve.

"We are one although there are a few white people who have been left behind. We cannot turn our backs on them."

l Patrick OToole: "I think the rainbow-nation ideal is still alive and kicking, never mind what everyone else says. We are all South Africans and we must stand together, young and old."

l Nicosha Peters: "In some ways it is. I think that although we have progressed a lot, if we want to be better as a country, everyone needs to stand together."

l Daniel Rawcliffe: "I think the ideal is still alive, but a lot of people are disillusioned. Rising food prices and things like xenophobia are not resolved. Corruption in the ruling party does not look good."

l Amanda Kruger: "I was quite young in 1994, but I think the ideal is still good.

"Problems around things like housing, electricity and water need to be addressed before we get there as a country because some people feel they are still living like they did in the past."

l Sizwe Mkhize: I think it is still alive. People are going to vote, white and black people get along.

"The problem is that in politics everyone wants power, but I think the normal people are fine."

lBuyi Zwane-Jacobs, 37, who has been married to a white man for over a decade, says she believed that the rainbow dream still exists in South Africa.

"Before the liberation of the country, I would never have publicly admitted that I was in a multiracial relationship."

l Vivienne Channon of Westcliff shared Zwane-Jacobs' sentiments, but says more still needs to be done, especially for the older generation.

l Marykeri Rainsford believes in the rainbow nation, but finds it difficult to practise.

"People of South Africa have diverse cultures and beliefs. These often cause a problem when you try to befriend a person of a different race. I have friends who are coloured, but not black."

l Laura Gordon, 48, of Westbury says the rainbow nation was never implemented and the government has brought no change.

"Instead, they have brought us more problems."

l Thato Moeng, 28, of Emndeni, Soweto, is also sceptical about the rainbow dream.

"We are not one. There are race issues that need to be dealt with. Blacks, whites, coloureds and foreigners are divided. The recent xenophobic attacks are evidence enough."

l Maria Ramailane, 70, of Noordgesig near Soweto says: "Things have to change. They are just not right the way they are. Coloured people are being sidelined."

l Heinz Lehner, 67, says: "The rainbow nation no longer exists. I do not think Jacob Zuma will unite us. Nelson Mandela is the only man who can do that."