The Rainbow Nation project in South Africa has failed, according to Mmusi Maimane in an interview with Time Magazine.
The leader of South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said that the generation of leaders who started the Rainbow Nation project has faded, and the voices on the rise, seek to divide.
Maimane was speaking ahead of the local municipal elections taking place next week (3 August), with the country still plagued by racism.
The DA leader himself, has been accused of being a puppet for a ‘white party’. President Jacob Zuma this week called Maimane a “scarecrow” adding that his party does not know if it is white or black.
“The poor man (Maimane) hasn’t read the history of this country, and he is no different to the few black people who sided with whites during oppression,” Zuma said.
“They don’t know whether they are white or black. They don’t know what they are standing for.”
Maimane remains resolute. “I’ve walked into places where I have thought to myself, why do I need to audition for legitimacy as a black person because I’m with white people? That’s unacceptable,” he told Time.
On being dubbed the Obama of Soweto, Maimane told the magazine: “When people ask me that question, it certainly would be better than being compared to the Mugabe of some other place. I’m a fan of president Obama, but was much more of a fan of Bill Clinton in terms of his contribution to the US at the time.”
Maimane said that the country needed a leader to continue the work started by former president, Nelason Mandela. He said that the country needed a leader to say: ‘you don’t need to be black to fight against racism’.
Maimane said that post 1994, racist South Africans didn’t suddenly disappear.
“My wife is white, I often remind her, I say: you come from privilege, you must understand that even though from an income point of view you may not have felt that way, but there was never a debate about the fact that you would end up at university, and I wouldn’t. So understand that and know that you have a role in South Africa, to contribute towards building an integrated society.”
The job that we have is to educate and transform society, Maimane said. “I think that’s possible.”