Anna Jarstad
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At the end of the rainbow
Intergroup relations in South Africa

How do contemporary political parties envision intergroup relations in South Africa? The visions of political parties are important for peace as these can either mirror or shape people’s views and behavior. The transition from apartheid to democracy was eased by the idea of the Rainbow Nation, which encapsulates a recognition of diversity and a sense of colorblindness whereby South Africa belongs to “all who live in it,” as the preamble to the constitution states. Using the relational peace framework, this chapter contributes to the literature on nation-building by investigating how contemporary political parties (the African National Congress, Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, and Freedom Front Plus) discuss intergroup relations of peace and violent conflict and how they describe a vision of future intergroup relations. Parties based on civic nationalism champion a common identity and aim for a society where ethnicity and race are politically irrelevant. By contrast, both multiculturalism and ethno-nationalism recognize ethnicity as important for intergroup relations. The relational peace framework helps identify which dyads are seen as important in the political party manifestos – who is seen as a legitimate counterpart and who is excluded from discussions related to nation-building and intergroup peace. The assessment of the manifestos using the framework’s elements proves fruitful in capturing the type of nation-building. The analysis of 2019 election manifestos shows a variety of competing visions. These disagreements on who belongs to the South African nation pose a challenge to the legitimacy of the state and peace.

The transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa is often labeled a successful case of nation-building. The process was eased by the idea of a Rainbow Nation, encapsulating a recognition of diversity alongside a sense of colorblindness by envisioning the transformation of racial antagonism into harmonious and peaceful coexistence beyond race. This vision was first coined by Desmond Tutu, who spoke about South Africans as “the Rainbow Nation of God.” His position as archbishop and chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee gave the Rainbow Nation, the imaginary new South Africa in the post-apartheid era, an overtone of religion and reconciliation. The rainbow had several positive connotations for South Africans, symbolizing God's forgiveness in the Old Testament, and signifying hope and a bright future in Xhosa traditional culture. The rainbow colors also avoid direct reference to color in the sense of race, while at the same time recognizing diversity and therefore serving as a strong metaphor for nation-building (Baines 1998).

Nation-building is often seen as necessary for peace in countries divided by conflict. There are largely two competing approaches to nation-building advocated by scholars and practitioners alike for creating a common identity: civic and multicultural nation-building. Scholars within the first camp emphasize the mythical aspect of a nation. Modern nations are “imagined communities” in the sense that their members do not know each other personally (Anderson 1994). According to this civil or liberal approach, fluid and multiple identities are possible. This version of nation-building entails a social construction, an invention or even fabrication by which cultural and linguistic groups should be dissolved and replaced by a common culture. The end state of civic nationalism is meant to be achieved through processes of assimilation or integration (Gellner 1990; Hobsbawm 1990; Smith 1991). It was probably this approach to nation-building which inspired the idea of a Rainbow Nation, but as we shall see the contemporary political parties have various understandings and experiences of the Rainbow Nation. The second approach, sometimes referred to as multiculturalism, ascribes ethnic meaning to the term “nation” and suggests that states consist of multiple ethnic nations which are characterized by their unique identities, while their members can at the same time feel loyalty and patriotism toward the state, albeit not supranational identification (Kymlicka 1995). According to this perspective, cultural diversity is favorable to society and a safeguard against tyranny. The goal of nation-building should therefore not be unity, but rather respect for diversity. This scholarly debate also outlines constitutional models for divided societies, including South Africa (Lijphart 1985; Horowitz 1991; Smith 1992; Connor 1994).

In this chapter, I depart from this research and interpret the nation-building approaches that seem to underpin the visions of different political parties in South Africa. In addition to the two approaches mentioned above, it is clear that some political parties have a more nationalistic approach where one ethnic group is favored. Although nationalism is seldom advocated as a strategy for nation-building, I find that some political parties aim to create a South Africa where one group's identity is dominant. In theory, multiculturalism and nationalism share similarities in the sense that they both are based on ethnicity, whereas civic nationalism is based on non-ethnic identities. However, in practice civic nationalism can also involve ethnic nationalism, as the process toward a civic identity often involves assimilation into a hegemonic culture.

Nation-building is thus about creating a bond and common identity. McCandless suggests that social cohesion, binding society together horizontally across groups, is necessary for resilient social contracts between the people and the state and for sustaining peace. However, McCandless shows what stagnates peace, rather than what sustains it (2020). In a case study on South Africa based on McCandless's work, Ndinga-Kanga et al. show that failures to adequately address equitable access to service delivery, high unemployment, and lack of livelihood strategies have contributed to the politicization of identity, decreased legitimacy of the reconciliation agenda, and deteriorated intergroup relations (2020). While this research is important for our understanding of threats to peace from the perspective of state–society relationships, it is also important to delve deeper into the horizontal relationships and elaborate on how political parties as important agenda-setting actors envision how different groups should interact and view each other beyond the notion of citizens, in order to sustain peace. The relational peace framework (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction) can help us to better describe and analyze different types of nation-building and visions of intergroup peace to address the question: How do contemporary political parties envisage intergroup relations in South Africa?

At the time, the transition from apartheid to democracy was described as a miracle (Sparks 2003), but racial relations remain a painful and contested issue in South Africa. Although apartheid was formally abolished, its legacy remains, and the great economic inequalities as well as the segregated character of residential areas largely reflect the racialized categories established during apartheid. While different human races do not exist in biological terms, in South Africa many people still refer to themselves and others in racialized terms such as “black,” “colored,” and “white,” as is also the convention in the literature and in official documents from the country. 1 It should, however, be remembered that the anti-apartheid struggle – a period marked by a high level of political violence – was not only a conflict between white and black, since many white, colored, and Indian people fought together with blacks against the Afrikaner-dominated apartheid regime. The white population in South Africa is also divided into English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking groups, and these subgroups are also not homogeneous. Especially among the Afrikaner community, some do not want to define themselves as such, while others claim that Afrikaners are defined by a distinct culture (Netshitenzhe 2018). Despite these complexities, in the 2019 elections a number of political parties mobilized along racial lines. Two parties saw a dramatic increase in votes: the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who claim to represent the oppressed black majority, became the third largest party, while the right-wing Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) gained about half of the Afrikaner vote. To cover the breadth of the political spectrum, I include these two parties in the analysis to capture the contemporary debate on intergroup relations in South Africa and how they can be understood using the relational peace framework. The analysis also includes the two largest parties: the ruling social democratic party the African National Congress (ANC) and the liberal Democratic Alliance (DA).

Methods: investigating visions of intergroup relations

Political parties are important for both mirroring and shaping people's ideas and visions about intergroup peace. In the 2019 parliamentary election, the voter turnout was 66.1 percent, which places South Africa in the middle range globally (IDEA 2019). The political party spectrum in South Africa represents a range of political beliefs and ideologies, as it includes parties at the far left, liberal parties, and parties at the far right. In order to analyze the political parties’ views on intergroup relations, I use material showing how parties themselves approach this subject and how they present their visions to potential voters. I therefore turned to the parties’ websites as their public “face” to a broader audience. Because it is just as interesting to see what is omitted as to see what is included, I wanted to base my analysis on general documents stating the party policy, and not on documents specifically focusing on intergroup relations. To facilitate comparisons, I identified a type of document featured on all parties’ websites and selected the 2019 election manifestos as my primary documents. Each such party program reflects the policy adopted collectively by the party and is therefore its most complete presentation (Sindre 2019). One drawback of this material is that it does not reveal the unspoken aspects of the ideology (Pirro 2014). However, by applying all elements of the relational peace framework and comparing several parties’ manifestos, my analysis also points to what is absent in the manifestos. Analyzing manifestos also means that the envisioned behavior rather than the actual behavior is in focus, but to contextualize the manifestos I do include secondary sources, news articles, and a few interviews, which show some behavior of the actors and also expands on some of the other elements in the relational peace framework. However, the chapter is first and foremost a depiction of how the various political parties portray and envision societal, horizontal relationships in South Africa.

I analyze the manifestos in their entirety, both the texts and the photos. With regard to behavioral interaction, I identify all types of activity in relation to other groups and discuss them in relation to the elements in the framework (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction). The silencing impact of the rainbow idea is seen by some parties as a form of self-censorship and can therefore be interpreted as a sign of domination and a denial of a multicultural characterization of society. When trying to identify whether the criterion of non-domination is fulfilled, I search for proposals on how to prevent arbitrary use of power, for instance laws against discrimination. To identify the cooperation element, I analyze how the parties discuss how different groups should work together on shared issues, for instance in joint ownership of farms, and whether the cooperation is tied to ethnic or civil aspects. The issue of deliberation is operationalized to denote who should have the right to participate in debates and what issues (ethnic or civil) related to intergroup relations should be the focus of debates. Proposals regarding hate speech, strikes, and protests are also used as indicators of this element.

To analyze the parties’ attitudes toward each other, the framework specifies two elements: mutual recognition and trust (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction). To identify the first element, I analyze how the parties talk about acceptance of other groups, whether or not they use racialized terms, how they view ethnic diversity, and whether they propose measures to protect and enhance cultural markers such as languages and cultural lands. Trust signals positive expectations between the actors, and these include the expectation of a relationship free from threats and violence. Therefore it is important to analyze issues related to safety and security, and measures proposed to increase intergroup trust. To study the question of how the idea of relationship between groups is expressed, I identify which dyads are mentioned, and how the relationships between the groups were described. In this way, the elements of the relational peace framework are used as tools to determine whether the overall vision of intergroup relations for each party in 2019 is based on ethnicity (an inclusive multiculturalism or an exclusive ethno-nationalism) or a civil identity (civic nationalism).

In order to determine whether a political party's visions of intergroup relations is based on civic nationalism, ethno-nationalism, or multiculturalism, I use the elements of the relational peace framework. The most important aspects are which groups, if any, are acknowledged, how these are described, and how the relationships with other groups are envisioned. If a party writes about a group as a relatively homogeneous entity, which should be favored, I classify it as a case of ethno-nationalism. This is most explicit in the manifestos of the ANC and FF Plus, as we shall see below. Multiculturalism entails recognition of multiple ethnic groups, as in the case of the EFF, although as it exclusively includes different black groups it is therefore classified as a case of black multiculturalism. The DA is the only party analyzed in this chapter which has a clear vision of a non-ethnic South Africa with another type of identity, and it is therefore classified as a case of civic nationalism.

The ANC's vision: black ethno-nationalism with multicultural traits

Before analyzing the ANC's 2019 manifesto, I here give a short description of the roots of the political party in terms of nation-building approaches. According to Ramsamy, before the end of apartheid in 1994 the ANC's approach to nation-building shifted from narrow black nationalism to multiculturalism, to non-racialism, and back to multiculturalism (Ramsamy 2007: 468–472). As we will see, the approach has shifted further since then. The ANC has its roots in the South African Native National Congress founded in 1912, which changed its name to African National Congress in 1923. Membership did not open up to other racialized groups until 1969, and only since 1985 have non-black members been able to become members of the executive body. At its inception the party was a black nationalist, anti-colonial, anti-communist, and elitist organization without many activities. In the 1950s it turned into a black mass movement, and in 1955 the Freedom Charter was adopted by the ANC, the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats, and the Coloured People's Congress. The Freedom Charter demanded democracy and envisaged a multicultural South Africa where all national groups had equal rights and status. It was not until the mid-1980s that the ANC adopted non-racialism and began to regard racial identities as private matters which it envisioned becoming obsolete. Ethnic consciousness came to be seen as a remnant of the apartheid divide-and-rule policy. As the ANC transformed from a liberation movement into a political party it became difficult to attract support from either Zulus (the largest black group) or Indians and colored people, as these groups did not feel that their lived experiences as minorities were included in the non-racial ideology. The Rainbow Nation was launched, an idea which could accommodate diverse and even antagonistic identities (Ramsamy 2007; Ajam et al. 2019), marking a return to the multicultural approach to nation-building, as described in the Freedom Charter, which is now posted on the ANC webpage together with the party's constitution in the “about” section (Freedom Charter 1955). The ANC's nation-building methods have shifted between forming alliances and incorporating other organizations. Initially, the anti-apartheid strategies were non-violent, but when the ANC was banned in 1960 and went into exile, Communist and ANC members formed Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) as an autonomous military organization under the leadership of the former president of the ANC's Transvaal branch, Nelson Mandela (Ellis 1991).

Behavioral aspects of relations

We now turn to the analysis of the ANC 2019 manifesto. In the 2019 general election, the ANC gained the lowest share of votes it has ever received: 57.5 percent compared with 62.7 percent in the first democratic election in 1994. It is noteworthy that the governing party has the shortest manifesto of those analyzed here: The ANC 2019 manifesto contains comparatively little text, presented in bullet point format. There is only one photo, and it shows the ANC leader Ramaphosa lifting his hand and looking into the distance with a serious face. In addition, there are many illustrations, such as two people holding their arms around each other to symbolize “a nation united in diversity.” The slogan of the ANC is “a better life for all,” while the 2019 election manifesto is entitled “Let's grow South Africa together (ANC 2019a). The latter phrase encapsulates the vision of cooperation – an element of the framework – without specifying who the actors are. However, later on the manifesto uses the term “race,” and it is clear that the ANC favors a situation of racially mixing and intermingling, as it explains that there has been “progress towards ending race-based spatial separation” (ANC 2019a: 7). The issue of race also appears in other sections in the manifesto, for instance, in relation to strengthening governance; one of many tasks outlined in the manifesto is to reshape “towns and cities to correct economic and racial divides” (ANC 2019a: 39, emphasis in original removed). The ANC also describes a racialized dimension of the financial sector, proclaiming a wish to facilitate credit and loans for black industrialists (ANC 2019a: 24).

The element of deliberation is not present in the manifesto as there is no text on debates or public discussions, who should have the right to participate in such debates, or which issues related to intergroup relations should be the focus of debates. To achieve the element of non-domination, institutional arrangement may be necessary for relational peace (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction). In the ANC manifesto, the growth of the black middle class is provided as an example of how the lives of the majority of South Africans have improved. It is clear that the ANC means that it is necessary to counter previous domination of the black population with special institutional arrangements, for it suggests that the growth of the black middle class is “due to affirmative action, black industrialization and broad-based black economic empowerment” (ANC 2019a: 9). The BEE (black economic empowerment) program was adopted by the government in 2001 and requires the largest companies to fill quotas for black ownership and employment. Following an outcry that BEE did not benefit ordinary people, the program was changed into BBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment) in 2003. It has been suggested that this policy is part of a shift away from rainbowism and toward more exclusive black nationalism (Ramsamy 2007: 479). This approach still prevails in the 2019 manifesto, although, as becomes apparent in the subsequent part of the analysis, some parts of the text also recognize other groups, suggesting some traits of multiculturalism.

Attitudinal aspects of relations

It is difficult to find any direct empirical referents of the element of trust in the manifesto, but by analyzing how the issues of safety and security are discussed it is possible to identify where there are perceived vulnerabilities and against whom. The manifesto includes two sections entitled “Security” and “Safety” respectively, but in these sections there is neither any mention of issues explicitly related to intergroup relations, nor a calling-out of any racialized group for carrying out threats or violence. Instead, the manifesto presents general ideas for promoting social security by improving the health system and the education system, transforming human settlements, and ensuring safe public transport (ANC 2019a: 26–32). The section on safety deals with the police, gang violence, and domestic violence (ANC 2019a: 33–35). One section is entitled “Build national unity and embrace diversity,” and here the framework's trust element is addressed indirectly. For instance, the ANC proclaims that it will enact legislation to prevent hate crimes, a measure which could reduce the level of intergroup distrust in society. Furthermore, it asserts it will “[p]romote the values of non-racialism and non-sexism through sports, culture and the arts” (ANC 2019a: 41, emphasis in original removed), which could also contribute to mutual trust among racialized groups.

Mutual recognition is another important element of relational peace. The aforementioned section of the manifesto recognizes the country's diversity in different ways. The party proclaims that it carries out indigenous language programs in schools and also promotes history studies, trains teachers to deal with discrimination, and wishes to “[c]elebrate all cultures during national holidays” (ANC 2019a: 41, emphasis in original removed). However, the ANC asserts its wish to speed up land reform, including by submitting the revised expropriation bill to parliament and transferring title deeds to “rightful owners” (ANC 2019a: 20–21). Although it does not explicitly name them, it is clear from this statement that the ANC regards some of the present owners as unlawful and thus does not extend recognition of them as equal “sons of the soil” as the FF Plus refers to the Afrikaner group (FF Plus 2019: 20). Ahead of the 2019 general elections, one of the most hotly debated topics was the issue of land. For a long time there had been a policy of trying to find “willing sellers, willing buyers” to remedy the unfair distribution of land in South Africa. The vast majority of land is still owned by whites, while a majority of black South Africans remain landless and often poor. Landlessness has contributed to a high influx of people to big cities, and the slum areas grow, leading to a large group of squatters who set up basic shelters on occupied soil (Jarstad 2021). Afrikaners are often singled out as the group guilty of this injustice, because apartheid was introduced by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party.

Idea of relations

The ANC manifesto at first gives an impression of embracing the vision of the Rainbow Nation, as it states that one priority area is “Uniting South Africans and embracing our diversity,” without specifying any groups (ANC 2019a: 3). However, unlike the original colorblindness of the Rainbow Nation, the manifesto continues: “Ours is a plan about you, South Africans, black and white, young and old, rural and urban” (ANC 2019a: 3). Here and in several other places, the ANC uses the racialized dyad of black and white, and stresses its wish to uplift black people, for instance via BBEE. At the same time, it states that the party refuses “to accept racism as the norm” (ANC 2019a: 6). One interpretation is that racism here refers only to discrimination against black people, and that race-based affirmative action to favor black people should not be seen as discrimination. The shorter summary also states: “We will WORK to unite all South Africans and build a country in which ALL BELONG and feel at home” (ANC 2019b: 9, capitalization in original, bold in orginal removed). This evokes the notion of the country as a home where everyone feels welcomed and included. However, the short and disjointed texts in the manifesto shows no clear vision of how intergroup relations should be improved. The main impression is that nation-building is envisaged as a form of black ethno-nationalism with multicultural traits.

The DA's vision: civic nationalism

The Democratic Alliance, DA, is the second largest party in South Africa and the only party which attracts a significant number of votes from all population groups (Joubert 2019: 27). The critique of racial politics has always been important to the party, and this is in line with civic nationalism, where ethnicity is expected to become de-politicized and unimportant in creating a common identity. As we will see in the analysis below, the elements of the relational framework help us to identify which aspects of intergroup relations the DA sees as important for a civic identity rather than ethnic identities to develop.

First, however, I provide a brief background of the party. The DA has its roots in the Progressive Party, which was formed in 1959 to resist apartheid. In 1989, three small parties merged to form the Democratic Party. It was a very small party until the 1999 elections, when it became the largest opposition party. One reason was that in 1998 the party produced the pamphlet The Death of the Rainbow Nation, where it accused Mandela of reintroducing racial politics with a law that required employers to write plans for how they intended to advance blacks in their workforce, and this message attracted many Afrikaner votes. In 2000, the Democratic Party and the New National Party merged and established the DA. In the 2019 election many white Afrikaans-speakers turned away from the party and instead voted for the FF Plus, while the DA gained 20.8 percent of the vote overall (Sparks 2003: 12; du Plessis and Plaut 2019: 66–69; Joubert 2019: 27–28).

Behavioral aspects of relations

The DA manifesto is entitled The Manifesto for Change and bears the slogan “One South Africa for All.” It begins with the following address:

Fellow South Africans,

In 1994, we had a dream. A dream of One South Africa where whatever our race, background or religion, we would be able to stand together as one, living free, happy and dignified lives. A dream where we would reduce the economic inequality in our country. A dream where we would realise the potential of our great nation, working together to make South Africa a beacon of hope and leader in the developing world […] we call that dream One South Africa for All. A South Africa where we come together because we are better together. A South Africa of the shared values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.

(DA 2019: 3)

It is clear that the DA wants to convey the message of working together across races, and that diversity is desirable and beneficial to society. The copious eighty-two-page manifesto contains a lot of text in a small font and thirty-four photos. Most of the photos of people portray racially mixed groups interacting peacefully with each other. There are several photos of the smiling black DA leader Maimane in the front, with people of different skin colors in the background. In one photo, five black people and one white person are holding hands. In another photo, a large group of people – black, colored, and white – are singing and holding the South African flag. Other photos show a racial mix of people laughing, cuddling, welding, or hiking. This clearly signals close social interaction between members of different population groups and also some cooperation, one of the elements of the relational peace framework. The DA also envisions greater cooperation between farmers and farmworkers. In relation to the need for broader ownership of land, the DA suggests that farmworkers can own shares in the farms they work on (Democratic Alliance 2019: 21).

A few photos portray serious faces: for instance, in relation to a text on corruption, there is a photo of a white man taking part in a debate in parliament, indicating how deliberation should be performed, a second element of behavioral interaction. Non-domination, a third element of relational peace, is discussed in relation to diversity and each individual's uniqueness. The DA declares: “We celebrate diversity and recognize the right of each individual to be free from domination by others” (DA 2019: 5). Here, the emphasis is on the individual level, and the manifesto does not explicitly discuss intergroup non-domination. Instead, non-domination is to be achieved by providing equal opportunities to everyone: “All South Africans deserve a level playing field where opportunities are not concentrated in the hands of the few” (DA 2019: 5).

The DA also wants to ensure predictability, thereby fulfilling the requirement of non-arbitrary power stipulated in the framework in relation to non-domination (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction), for instance by guaranteeing private property rights for everyone (DA 2019: 10). The issue of property rights has been evoked by the land reform debate, and by the government's proposal of a law of expropriation without compensation, which many people fear will lead to arbitrary expropriation of property. The DA rejects the ANC's and EFF's plan, which it suggests makes the government the “owner of all property and land” while “citizens would have to rent their homes and land from government for life” (DA 2019: 21). It suggests that the law would lead to the agricultural sector collapsing and hundreds of thousands losing their jobs. Instead, the DA wants to release government-owned land which is not in use and to give title deeds to urban housing beneficiaries so that their children can inherit their houses.

The DA asserts its wish to reform the broad-based black economic empowerment approach, which, according to it, serves only to enrich the elite through state capture and corruption. Instead, the DA proclaims that “real economic empowerment for black South Africans” will be achieved through its program “economic justice for all” (DA 2019: 18). It includes measures to create black entrepreneurs and expand the middle class through education and training. The manifesto also outlines a detailed program for support to the poor, including a housing scheme, an extensive social assistance system, and support for university students from low-income families.

Attitudinal aspects of relations

The manifesto acknowledges the need for a change in attitudes and demonstrates concern about the divided nature of South Africa: “Our country has not faced a period of more racially divisive rhetoric and tension since the dawn of our democracy” (DA 2019: 17). The reason for mobilizing people based on race is, according to the DA, that a majority of South Africans “remain on the periphery of society, where apartheid forced them or their parents” (DA 2019: 17). The DA suggests that a program for race-based redress is an essential part of the reconciliation project, specifically stating that such moves should seek to empower black South Africans. It further states that “once the wrong has been remedied, the need for said redress will by definition fall away” (DA 2019: 17). The DA therefore suggests a sunset clause for the program of redress, “to ensure that we move to a non-racial position as soon as a successful redress programme has been implemented” (DA 2019: 17). Thus, the DA seems to accept that uplifting blacks at the expense of other groups is a temporary necessity for improved intergroup relations, but that the overall vision should be that belonging to the South African nation is based on civil, not ethnic, criteria.

Trust is an important element of relational peace, but is difficult to identify empirically. In the manifesto trust is not discussed in relation to intergroup relations. Instead, trust in the state is discussed, for instance “South Africans deserve a government they can trust and will responsibly spend every cent to create opportunity for all” (DA 2019: 5). The manifesto does, however, discuss security in a way that touches upon some of the elements in the relational peace framework. For instance, it claims that poverty is the main reason for insecurity and details the sufferings associated with poverty, including malnutrition and lack of dignity, further stating: “This toxic mix is keeping our unequal and extremely violent society firmly intact” (DA 2019: 50). Therefore measures to stimulate economic growth have to be complemented with social assistance, including increased child grants (DA 2019: 51). The discussions on security, poverty, and resulting crime describe conditions where it is difficult for mutual trust to develop. As the manifesto also suggests, poverty can lead to a lack of dignity and a sense of not being recognized as an equal. This can be interpreted as a form of domination, and the measures to address poverty as tools to achieve non-domination. Indirectly this could also create more conducive conditions for mutual trust between population groups.

Among many voters there is great distrust because fear of violence and crime, and the manifesto indirectly discusses measures which could be important for trust to develop, including creating safe living spaces, a safe transport system, food security, and rural safety (DA 2019: 33–35, 44). It asserts that the safety of farming communities is a priority of the DA and that both farm owners and farmworkers have a right to be protected from violent attacks (DA 2019: 36). It is noteworthy that the manifesto avoids describing the dyad in terms of black and white here, whereas in the media such murders are often described as blacks killing whites. I would argue that these measures speak to the elements of both non-domination and trust, as they are proposals for how to create an environment where fear is reduced and confidence is built.

In terms of the element recognition, the manifesto asserts that diversity is one of South Africa's key assets and subscribes to the preamble of the South African constitution, which recognizes that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in diversity” (DA 2019: 5). However, it does not mention any group-based rights, nor does it mention how this diversity should be enhanced other than by improving diversity in the party's own ranks. Given that the manifesto is very comprehensive, it is striking that there is no mention of different languages as mediums of instruction in schools, perhaps indicating that the DA regards the increased use of English as a positive trend. Likewise, there is nothing about how other forms of cultural or ethnic expressions should be celebrated or protected. This suggests a civic approach to nation-building, where an identity based on shared citizenship is nurtured and other identities remain a personal matter.

Idea of relations

The manifesto begins with an address to “Fellow South Africans” which indicates a peaceful relation between individuals rather than groups. The DA proposes that the envisaged future relationships should rest on the principle of equality:

In effect there are still two South Africas, 25 years into democracy. One where there are the skills and resources to access economic and other opportunities, and another South Africa where the majority of citizens find themselves excluded with no hope of accessing life-changing opportunities […] there is an urgent need to remedy this manifestly unfair reality to ensure that all South Africans – regardless of their race, gender or geographical context – are able to reach their full potential and in so doing, truly build One South Africa for All.

(DA 2019: 9, italics in original)

The quotation demonstrates an awareness of the inequalities without clearly pointing out a relevant dyad for an envisioned intergroup peace. The relative absence of racialized terms in this very long manifesto is striking. The terms “race” and “black” are used thirteen times each, while no other racialized category is mentioned. It is clear that DA's vision is that “no South African – regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or any other marker – should have their life chances determined by the circumstance of their birth” (DA 2019: 6) By describing race as a marker, i.e., as something ascribed, the text signals that race should not be understood as an essentialist term, but instead in parity to other markers such as sex or age which are not based on achievement or merit, but rather are a result of conditions beyond an individual's control. Race should therefore not define status or influence one's employment chances.

In relation to the need for reconciliation and race-based redress, the term “black” is used, without specifying any other racialized categories. Furthermore, the manifesto states that economic redress “does not mean taking from one group or individual to give to another” (DA 2019: 17). This is to be achieved by a dramatic change of financial policy to expand the economic pie and enable the growth of the job market. By setting targets for socioeconomic justice, such as broader ownership, and abolishing such measures once the targets are reached, in combination with social support to all disadvantaged South Africans, regardless of exposure to past injustices, the DA strives to reach a state where race is no longer politically significant. This nation-building vision thus encapsulates the notion of civic nationalism.

The EFF's vision: black multiculturalism

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was founded in 2013, and arose out of resentment with the dominant politics and with the ANC's vision of racial harmony. My interpretation is that the party envisages a South Africa solely for black groups. Thus, I argue that the party envisages black multiculturalism and champions the promotion of ethnic diversity among black groups. This can be viewed in contrast to the ANC's black ethno-nationalism, which presents blacks as a relatively homogeneous group. The EFF is a far-left, Pan-African party formed by Julius Malema, who had been expelled from the ANC Youth League, of which he was the president. One of the reasons for his removal was his outspoken support of Zimbabwe's land policy. In 2014, the EFF gained 6.4 percent of the votes, and in 2019 it became the third largest party with forty-four members in parliament and 11 percent of the votes (Joubert 2019: 108–114).

Behavioral aspects of relations

The EFF manifesto is 170 pages long and contains thirty-one photos. The first one depicts a smiling Malema, presented as the president and commander in chief, in his emblematic red beret. Most photos featuring people show large crowds of black people, often dressed in the party's color, red. The only photo of white people illustrates corruption: faceless white men in suits shaking hands over the table, while exchanging money under the table (EFF 2019b: 38). Without explicitly mentioning the Rainbow Nation, the EFF clearly states that it sees the term as detrimental to deliberations on intergroup relations:

We are not part of the 1994 elite pact. We are a completely new generation, with new demands. And our demands, unlike those of the 1994 generation, will not be postponed. We refuse to be silenced with so-called reconciliation. We want justice now. We want our land now. We want jobs now. We demand the economy NOW!

(EFF 2019b: 6)

The EFF gives voice to the opinion that the pact between the elites to end apartheid is used to silence demands and debates for the sake of reconciliation, and suggests that the colorblindness of the Rainbow Nation prompts self-censorship on issues related to race and prevents deliberation on intergroup relations. Thus the Rainbow Nation is seen as a means of domination through the hegemonic elite. EFF, however, does not feel bound by the “CODESA compromise” and suggests that the “political change-over in 1994 […] was a bluff which continues to subject black people to economic and social apartheid” (EFF 2019b: 6). CODESA means Convention for a Democratic South Africa and refers to the multiparty constitutional talks held in 1991–1992, which were followed by Constitutional Assembly deliberation in 1995–1996 before the new constitution was adopted (Barnes and de Klerk 2002). By referring to CODESA as a compromise, the EFF signals that it believes it was unacceptable that economic power was given away during the negotiations in return for political power. Instead of reconciliation, the EFF wants “justice on the entire continent” (EFF 2019b: 9).

The EFF suggests that the economic empowerment model is “ostensibly designed to benefit [a] small number of individuals without ever changing the structural exclusion of the majority” (EFF 2019b: 7). Instead the EFF promises to create “millions of decent jobs […] through state-led industrialization” (EFF 2019b: 31). Furthermore, the EFF demands expropriation of land without compensation, and redistribution to “all landless people for residential, industrial, cultural, religious and recreational purposes” (EFF 2019b: 11). It envisions a society where all land will be under the custodianship of the state, and will be redistributed for free usage (not ownership or rental) “in a manner that is demographically representative” so that the majority of the land is controlled by black people (EFF 2019b: 28).

In its constitution, the EFF clearly states that the aim is to “capture political and state power through whatever revolutionary means possible” (EFF 2019a: 9). It also describe itself as a militant movement on its website. When I asked in an interview what this means, the EFF provincial chairperson of Free State, Mandisa Makesini, said, “We are fighting for the rights of the oppressed people,” and when asked what the EFF would do if the white farmers do not accept their land being expropriated without compensation: “If the white farmers do not cooperate, we are ready to go to war.” When I then asked if there is any future for whites in South Africa, Makesini explained: “There is a future for whites in South Africa if they let go of the greed. There is a future for them if they cooperate.”  2 Makesini thus voices a very clear expectation of the behavior of the whites in South Africa: They have to cooperate, and there is no longer room for compromises and accommodation to needs of minorities if that does not benefit the black majority. This is also in line with the message of Malema: “We are not calling for the slaughter of white people, at least for now …” (SA People News 2016; see also Copeland 2021). This radical approach and the threat of war are in stark contrast to a vision of peaceful relations. Instead of deliberation, cooperation, and non-domination, the EFF might impose its societal order by force.

Attitudinal aspects of relations

It is clear that white South Africans are not recognized as equal members of society by the EFF. It is stated that “[t]he economy in South Africa continues to be under the ownership and control of white minority settlers” (EFF 2019b: 7). The choice of the term “settlers” indicates that whites are foreign and not seen as rooted in South Africa. It suggests that whites are not seen as true South Africans and brings their legitimacy into question, as does the photo of corruption described above.

Trust signals positive expectations of the other in the relationship, but after violent conflict, distrust is often nurtured by misunderstandings and prejudice. A change of behavior is often necessary to build trust (Söderström et al. 2021). Trust is often associated with a feeling of security. While safety and security are brought up several times in the EFF manifesto, there is little mention of intergroup relations. The EFF promises to “ensure equality before the law, regardless of class, gender or race” (EFF 2019b: 121). This is the second time the term “race” is used in the 170-page long manifesto. The first time it is used is in the context of oppression of women, where the manifesto states: “The vicious circle of triple oppression, based on race, class and gender, has not been broken for black women in particular” (EFF 2019b: 41). The term “racialized” is used only once, in the foreword, where the situation is described as a “crises of racialised poverty, inequality, underdevelopment, landlessness and joblessness” (EFF 2019b: 6). The more frequent use of labels “black” and “white” indicate that race is seen as a fruitful concept for understanding oppression and injustices while also forming the basis for directed actions to prioritize black South Africans. It is noteworthy that the manifesto does not include any measures for trust-building between different groups. This is logical, since the EFF demands economic liberation and revolution, and thus a complete change of the system which will alter relationships between racialized groups. It does not want to build trust between groups, but rather to instill fear in everyone who resists its struggle.

National symbols can be used to signify unity or acknowledge diverse ethnic groups, thereby encompassing mutual recognition and respect, which is another element of the framework. The EFF wishes to change all names of assets with links to the colonial period and replace “apartheid statues” with statues memorializing African and anti-colonial heroes, while the “apartheid national anthem” is to be replaced with ‘Nkosi sikelela i Afrika’ (EFF 2019b: 24, 144–145). This song, meaning “Lord bless Africa,” was written by a Xhosa clergyman in 1897 and became a pan-African liberation song. Versions of it have been adopted as national anthems in Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The present South African anthem is a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts from “Nkosi sikelela i Afrika,” sung in isiXhosa, isiZulu, and Sesotho, together with “Die stem van Sud-Afrika” (“The call of South Africa”) sung in Afrikaans. The latter song was the national anthem during apartheid, while the new merged national anthem was adopted in 1997 (South African Government 2020). The EFF now wants only the original text of “Nkosi sikelela i Afrika” to be used, thus removing the Afrikaner part of the national anthem. This is in direct contradiction to the idea of the Rainbow Nation, where all people should blend together to form a united whole. The EFF also states it will “commission the writing of a proper history of South Africa” (EFF 2019b: 144), suggesting that the present narrative presents an overly harmonious picture.

Eleven languages are recognized as official languages of South Africa, including English and Afrikaans. In relation to the education system, the EFF writes that it will “introduce vernacular languages as the foundation of the education system in all provinces” (EFF 2019b: 59). For higher education institutions, the EFF requires that by 2024, 50 percent of all courses be taught in a South African language other than English or Afrikaans (EFF 2019b: 63). Here it is clear that the EFF does not regard Afrikaans as a South African language, even though this language evolved from a Dutch dialect and adopted words from Khoisan (a group of African languages) and German used by European settlers in South Africa during the seventeenth century. It is noteworthy, however, that in this manifesto there is no demand to abolish Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, an issue which was brought up during the student protest in 2015 in relation to demands for decolonized and free education, which the manifesto also promises to introduce (EFF 2019b: 60).

Idea of relations

The idea of the relationship is strongly linked to which dyad is seen as relevant for intergroup relations, and in the case of the EFF the identification of its own side is clear, while “the other” refers to several actors. The manifesto addresses “[f]ellow South Africans, Commissars, Fighters, and all Ground Forces” (EFF 2019b: 12) and thereby evokes a sense of revolutionary comradeship and solidarity within the party and antagonistic relations to the enemy. Another relevant dyad for the EFF is the elite vs. the masses, whereby it sees itself as representing the masses – the broad population – against the elite and political establishment. This is related to the numerical relationship between the “black majority, and Africans in particular” and the “white minority settlers” (EFF 2019b: 7). The EFF objects to the fact that African blacks, who are the numerical majority, continue to be the economic minority. The foreword also points to another relevant dyad, namely that between young and old, or between those who have experienced apartheid and the “born-frees” as the generations born after 1994 are called. This generational divide is important for understanding how intergroup relations are perceived. Those who participated in the anti-apartheid struggle have personal experiences of how hard the conditions were under apartheid. They remember the violence during apartheid and the fears of a large-scale civil war just before democracy was introduced and therefore better appreciate how far South Africa has come in terms of intergroup relations since the apartheid period, whereas the EFF appeals to the younger generation, which is frustrated with the lack of economic progress.

With regard to which dyad is most central to the EFF, it clearly presents a racialized class antagonism between poor blacks and the white and wealthy. In the manifesto it says: “our people live in absolute poverty” (EFF 2019b: 6). Further, the manifesto describes “black people” as “landless,” “on the margins of economic production and outside of life-enhancing economic participation,” and as “suppliers of cheap and disposable labour” (EFF 2019b: 5–6). Here, black people are mainly described in economic terms, as employees or unemployed, poor and landless, and the relationship is thus about economic relations. This is a radical approach to nation-building where ethnic diversity is promoted for all black groups, but where it is difficult to see that the Afrikaners have any place as a cultural South African population group. It is a version of multiculturalism exclusively for black groups.

The FF Plus's vision: Afrikaner nationalism and extreme multiculturalism

The FF Plus has become the party which receives most white Afrikaner votes, with its share of the total vote rising from 0.9 percent in 2014 to 2.3 percent in the 2019 elections (Joubert 2019: 41). Ahead of the first democratic election in 1994 there were well-grounded fears of a counter-revolution when right-wing Afrikaner extremists formed militia movements and threatened to link up with the defense and police forces to take over the government in a coup. Mandela met with the putative leader of the coup, former chief of the defense force General Constand Viljoen, to persuade him to campaign for separatism by democratic means instead. Viljoen then formed the political party Freedom Front (FF) and won seven seats in parliament (Sparks 2003: 4). The FF prides itself on playing a key role in the writing of sections in the constitution which deal with collective rights for language and cultural communities and a commission for the promotion and protection of the rights of cultural, religious, and language communities, as well as self-determination (FF Plus 2020). In 1999, however, the party won less than 1 percent of the vote, and it was suggested that the Afrikaner nationalism and separatist movement was dead (Sparks 2003: 4–5). FF changed its name to FF Plus in 2004 when a number of smaller national parties merged with it.

Behavioral aspects of relations

The title of the FF Plus's 2019 manifesto is Fight Back and its slogan is “There is hope” (FF Plus 2019). It is noteworthy that this is the only manifesto which contains references to substantiate claims, for instance from the official agencies for statistics and the police. There is only one photo in the manifesto, and it shows hands of different colors placed on top of each other, as if they will be lifted up with a shout, as is often done by players before a sports game. White hands are placed on black hands, signaling unity. The notion of unity and cooperation is also reflected in the last sentence of the manifesto: “Let us build a future together” (FF Plus 2019: 30).

However, the manifesto begins by stating that the level of violent crime is as high as in war zones. The party suggests that the high level of farm murders makes it is necessary to have “private security to ensure our own safety” (FF Plus 2019: 1). For this reason, the FF Plus also asserts the right to own and use weapons for self-defense (FF Plus 2019: 22).

With regard to non-domination, the FF Plus rejects affirmative action for black empowerment, saying that race-based appointments and “transformation targets” are unjust, for black as well as white people. It suggests that the system puts “immense pressure” on people who are not equipped to do their job, while competent black people get a “cloud of distrust hanging over their heads” as they ask, “was this possibly an Affirmative Action appointment?” (FF Plus 2019: 5). The manifesto states that skin color “cannot be used as a generalized indication of being previously disadvantaged” and therefore not as a “condition for empowerment” either (FF Plus 2019: 12). This statement is at odds with the fact that under apartheid it was precisely skin color which gave blacks the lowest status in society. The FF Plus suggests that a “new generation of embittered individuals is forming among Afrikaners, coloured and other nonblack people” and that it was “a similar bitterness that provided the impetus for the ANC's power struggle” (FF Plus 2019: 3). Here it places the sufferings during apartheid on par with discrimination against non-black people during the current system. The FF Plus also writes that it wants to prevent history from repeating itself and instead favors a system of “equal opportunities for all South Africans” (FF Plus 2019: 5). To this end, it proposes moving away from “transformation and redistribution” and toward economic growth to create jobs, with less dependence on social grants (FF Plus 2019: 12). Instead of racial quotas, it suggests that socioeconomic conditions be used as criteria for empowerment measures.

According to the FF Plus, more power should be devolved to the local level and to cultural communities. The party favors a smaller but more effective government which merely acts “as a commonwealth of communities” (FF Plus 2019: 7) and greater power at the local level. For instance, energy systems could be owned and managed by the community. It also wants to “establish autonomy for a cultural community across the entire country concerning matters like education, elderly care, sport, heritage conservation and the like” (FF Plus 2019: 9). For this purpose, the manifesto proposes the establishment of community councils, such as Afrikaner Councils, for communities across the country. These would control education, heritage conservation, and social care. In this way there would be two parallel systems where each institution could decide if it wants to be under the jurisdiction of the community council or the government (FF Plus 2019: 9). The FF Plus states that this system is not racial segregation, perhaps suggesting that others think differently about this proposal, as a colored school might want to be under the jurisdiction of the Afrikaner Council while an Afrikaner school might choose to be under the authority of the government. However, in the early 1990s, a small Afrikaner volkstaat (a self-governed homeland) had already been established in Orania in the Northern Cape. Its founder, Carel Boshoff, bought the land, and after screening to ensure they indeed agreed to preserve the culture, Afrikaners were able to buy shares and settle in the little town (Cavanagh 2013). Orania is thus an all-white town where all labor is carried out by the residents, and it also uses its own currency. In this way it is separated from the rest of South Africa, even though black people still come to its grocery store.

With respect to deliberation, it is noteworthy that the FF Plus wants to limit some forms of public expressions which it sees as a threat to security by prohibiting “all forms of marches and protest actions near schools” (FF Plus 2019: 18). The FF Plus also proposes that “[s]trikes and particularly illegal strikes that lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of job opportunities must be prohibited. Trade unions’ power must be restricted” (FF Plus 2019: 15). In South Africa protests are very common, to the point that the country is referred to as the “protest nation” (Duncan 2016). During the struggle against apartheid, protest was used to make the country ungovernable, and this method is also used today, with the same stated objective, to influence politics.

Attitudinal aspects of relations

FF Plus promises to build “true unity in diversity,” based on “mutual respect, without discrimination and racism, with equal opportunities and recognition for that which is our own and that which is shared” (FF Plus 2019: 9). Recognition of cultural communities is central to the FF Plus, for instance in the suggestion that everyone must have access to mother-tongue education (FF Plus 2019: 17):

The FF Plus views every language as indefinitely more than just a medium of communication. A language is like a home. If one is deprived of your mother tongue, you are essentially left homeless, your human dignity is affected and you are left disoriented.

(FF Plus 2019: 18)

The quotation evokes strong emotions by referring to the language as a “home” and a source of “dignity” which is under threat. The manifesto even claims that “Afrikaans as [a] medium of instruction is under severe attack” (FF Plus 2019: 18). The party further suggests that it is unconstitutional for official languages not to be used in public and that this is “detrimental to race relations” (FF Plus 2019: 18). In particular, the dominance of English is sensitive for the party. The animosities between British settlers and Afrikaners date back to the early days of colonial wars, and worsened during the South African War of 1899–1902, 3 when many Afrikaners died in concentration camps, most of their livestock were killed, and the entire Afrikaner economy was crushed by the British (Giliomee 2019: 86). The FF Plus “condemns the creeping language imperialism of Anglophiles who want to subdue indigenous languages to English in the name of global trade and traffic particularly in the field of education, but also in public institutions and state departments” (FF Plus 2019: 19). Consequently, the party favors recognition and “development of all South African's indigenous languages” (FF Plus 2019: 18). To this end, the manifesto suggests that more of the official languages be used in schools, rather than introducing English as the sole medium of instruction, so that the constitutional right to receive instruction in the official language of one's choice can be fulfilled. This idea was further explained in my interview with Wynand Boshoff, the FF Plus provincial leader of Northern Cape (Noord-Kaap) and spokesperson for education:

There will be much more lasting peace if all cultural groups assert their cultural position and then together make what we together can make better. For instance, on the issue of Afrikaans as language of instruction in schools and at universities, I think that Afrikaners would have taken it in a more sportsmanlike fashion if our language was removed to make room for isiTswane or isiZulu or isiXhosa, but now it has to make way for English, in the name of de-colonialisation. It is silly and ironic! 4

FF Plus claims to promote nation-building by recognizing cultural community rights, which also entails land ownership, or as the FF Plus puts it:

The cultural value that various cultural groups (including the Afrikaners) ascribe to land, forests and fisheries must be recognized. […] The FF Plus understands the emotional impact that landownership has on all South Africans. Thus, land must not be viewed through a commercial lens. Afrikaners want the assurance that a part of African soil belongs to them too.

(FF Plus 2019: 19–20)

Thus, the FF Plus demands that Afrikaners be recognized as an African community, with indigenous rights. This is a central opinion of the party, and in line with the Afrikaner saying Die grondvraag is die grondvraag, which Boshoff translates as the “land issue is the fundamental issue.”  5 It is telling that the words for “land” and “fundamental” are one and the same.

The manifesto suggests that the ANC and EFF are behind the deteriorating intergroup relations and that the expropriation law portrays white people as thieves: “Expropriation without compensation threatens every South African's right to owning property and it reduces white South Africans, particularly farmers, to thieves who stole the land or property currently in their possession” (FF Plus 2019: 3). Furthermore, the party indicates that the ANC is using white people as the scapegoat for everything that is wrong in South Africa (FF Plus 2019: 4). This statement is also related to the demand for actions against hate speech, which it suggests must be stopped, regardless of the perpetrator's race or community (FF Plus 2019: 29). The FF Plus is not against land reform, but wants to make certain adjustments. For example, it strongly opposes the fact that beneficiaries today can opt for financial compensation rather than ownership of the land. Instead the party suggests that the redistribution must result in the transfer of title deeds, and expropriation should mean compensation at market value.

Ideas about the relations

The leader of the FF Plus, Pieter Groenewald, has stated that the Rainbow Nation is dead (Joubert 2019: 42). The FF Plus writes that it envisions a South Africa which benefits all its people, and “aspires to a political system based on Christian values that is characterized by the principles of justice, truth, love of one's neighbor, respect for life, loyalty and peaceful co-existence” (FF Plus 2019: 4). In this quotation, fellow South Africans are referred to as neighbors whom one should love. Overall the idea portrayed in the manifesto is that such peaceful coexistence does not require mixing, but that separation of groups should be allowed. This notion of peace thus speaks to the peace between fellows, rather than friends (Jarstad et al., this volume, Introduction). The FF Plus version of nation-building is an extreme version of multiculturalism based on Afrikaner nationalism, where the ethic community is the primary organizational level and the state should have limited political power.


This chapter has analyzed the visions of nation-building among contemporary South African political parties, as they are key actors in the public debate. This choice of material limits the analysis to nationalist visions and imaginations of intergroup peace, and cannot tell us about how interactions between groups play out in real life, but it is plausible that these visions either reflect or shape many people's ideas of the relationships between different population groups, and thereby also influence relational practices in South Africa. The relational peace framework has enabled the identification of which dyads are talked about in the manifestos and who are regarded as legitimate counterparts. All the manifestos implicitly define who are to be included and who are excluded from nation-building. The only relationship that is recognized in all the manifestos is the one between blacks and whites. It is striking that none of the manifestos mention Indians/Asians at all, and that the apartheid categorization of colored people is only mentioned by one party, the FF Plus. However, if South Africa belongs to “all who live in it, united in diversity,” as the preamble to the constitution states, all groups must feel included, including Indians/Asians and coloreds.

The relational peace framework also aided the analysis of contemporary visions of nation-building by bringing out the nuances and variations with regard to behavioral, attitudinal, and ideational components of intergroup relations, both in the manifesto texts and in photos and illustrations. The photos did convey strong signals of intergroup mixing, unity, or separation, and of the illegitimacy of some groups, for instance the EFF photo of white hands signaling corruption. Thus, this chapter shows how photos can be used for the analysis of relational peace. Some of the elements could more clearly capture different types of nation-building. Where the manifestos described issues relating to cooperation it became clear whether it was ethnic or civil dyads that were expected to work together or live intermingled, etc. These assessments helped the sorting of the manifestos into the different types on nation-building. Some manifestos also clearly discussed deliberative issues related to prohibiting divisive rhetoric, fostering a common identity, and reducing distrust between population groups, which can all be deemed relevant for nation-building, but here it was less clear which type of nation-building underpinned each manifesto. The element of non-domination was more useful in this regard as it was important for identifying any perceived group-based vulnerabilities, and whether the manifesto advocated for any special group-based status or measures. In the analysis, the element of trust did not clearly help in the assessment of type of nation-building, but recognition proved more fruitful, as in some cases specific groups were acknowledged. In the cases where the population was described as consisting of multiple ethnic entities, in contrast to one whole, unitary entity, this was interpreted as an indicator of multiculturalism. Finally, the idea of the relationship proved to be very useful in the classification of civic nationalism, ethno-nationalism, and multiculturalism, as it directly speaks to who is included and how the relationship should be characterized.

The analysis identified that one political party, the EFF, does not exclude violence in intergroup interactions. All the other parties favored fellowship or friendship. An additional behavioral element of intergroup relations was identified in the material, namely socializing: being close, even intimate, and happy together – cuddling, laughing, and singing – as portrayed by several photos in the DA manifesto. This element is associated with the idea of the relationship as friendship. The perception of the other and the idea of the relationship varies a great deal between the political parties. While the DA refers to other South Africans as fellows and individuals, the EFF stresses racialized class solidarity and comradeship. For the ANC, nation-building aims to build a home where everyone feels included, while the FF Plus writes that it strives for good neighborly relations between different cultural communities. This shows that political parties have very different views on how they should live together. In this way, the relational peace framework proves to be a useful tool for understanding different visions of nation-building by demonstrating how intergroup relations are imagined in different forms of nation-building.

Both multiculturalism and ethno-nationalism are based on the recognition of ethnic groups as important entities in a state, while civic nationalism rejects the importance of ethnicity and instead envisions a civil basis of the state. Among the parties whose manifestos are analyzed in this chapter, the DA is the only party with a vision which is close to pure civic nationalism. All the other parties write about the need to recognize (and for the foreseeable future base several political measures on) racialized categories. These visions can however be classified as different types of ethno-nationalism, where one group is given a special status, as in the case of the Afrikaner nationalism of the FF Plus, or as in the case of EFF, which features a nationalism that includes several black groups but excludes all others, and is thus classified as black multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is also based on ethnic groups rather than civicness; my interpretation is that the vision of the ANC can be classified as black ethno-nationalism because it wants blacks to be targeted in affirmative action, but we also see some traits of multiculturalism in the vision of the ANC, as several other groups are also pointed out as having separate identities. The FF Plus combines the Afrikaner nationalism with an extreme version of multiculturalism where it envisions that more power is devolved from the state level to all ethnic groups in South Africa. This also speaks to the social contract literature mentioned in the beginning of the chapter, which addresses the vertical relations between society and state. The FF Plus's idea of a society where each ethnic group is autonomous from other ethnic groups and to a large part also from the state is a model based on separation rather than on cohesion. This is also in line with the consociational model that Lijphart proposed for South Africa (1985), which aimed to provide peace. Together, the analyses show that there are several competing visions of nation-building among the political parties. These contradictions contribute to our understanding of relational peace in South Africa, as the disagreements around who belongs to the South African nation and how a common identity can be created risk undermining the legitimacy of the state and threatening peace.


1 As is often the case with race, there is no neutral terminology. For other countries, the term “people of color” might be preferred, but this does not capture the racial hierarchy of white, colored, Indian, and black during apartheid. “Ethnic minorities” is also a problematic term in this context as South Africa consists of several ethnic groups, and the black ethnic groups often do not want to refer to themselves as ethnic groups, but rather as cultural groups, stressing that blacks are the majority in the country. Moreover, there is no consensus on the issue of capitalization – or not – of the first letter in “apartheid,” “black,” “white.” etc. (Poppiejunkie 2014). I follow the convention in official documents, for instance those of Statistics South Africa, where the labels are written with lower-case first letters. The same source states that the black African population is 80.1 per cent of the total population, colored 8.8 per cent, Indian/Asian 2.6 percent, and white 7.8 percent (Maluleke 2020: 7).
2 Interview by telephone, December 2, 2020.
3 Historically, this war was known as the Anglo-Boer War.
4 Interview, November 24, 2019, in Orania. Boshoff is the son of the founder of Orania and the grandson of a former prime minister of South Africa, Hendrik Verwoerd (National Party), who is often labeled the “architect of apartheid” (Sparks 2003: 4).
5 Interview, November 24, 2019, in Orania.


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All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.



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