Mixing in the Rainbow Nation: Exploring Contemporary Attitudes toward Interracial Couples in South Africa

Childs, Erica Chito
July 2015
Sociological Imagination;2015, Vol. 51 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
South Africa has undergone radical transformation in the past decades, yet the degree to which the racial landscape has changed is debatable. When considering the state of race relations in contemporary post-apartheid and post-Mandela South Africa, studying attitudes toward interracial marriage is key to understanding racial attitudes. In particular, the discourses used by individuals and communities when describing, discussing, or imagining an interracial union offers an incisive means for critically evaluating imaginings of belonging--race, ethnicity, nationhood, citizenship, and culture. In the midst of global reports of a post-racial society, what intimate racial boundaries still exist in South Africa? And how do the different communities describe these boundaries and navigate (or avoid) the terrain of interracial unions? Drawing from focus group interviews with different racial and ethnic groups in South Africa to answer these questions, I argue that interracial unions are still considered largely problematic and uncommon, yet there are two different strategies for discussing these unions: an apartheid discourse and a rainbow discourse. Race certainly still has significance, yet how it is understood in contemporary South Africa, in terms of attitudes toward intermarriage, reflects the conflicted and contradictory shifting realities of race.


Related Articles

  • Older South Africans after Apartheid: The Relationship between Household Income and Race in Adults over 50 in the Cape Area of South Africa. Flores-Yeffal, Nadia Y.; Dunham, Charlotte // Sociological Imagination;2015, Vol. 51 Issue 1, p33 

    The apartheid era in South Africa had such harsh polices against those who were non-White that the effect of those polices could still be reflected long after Nelson Mandela's efforts to dismantle such policies during the post-apartheid years. In this paper, we use the Cape Area Panel Study data...

  • Recovering from the Revolution: Long-Term Reintegration of ANC Ex-combatants in South Africa. Heideman, Laura J. // Sociological Imagination;2015, Vol. 51 Issue 1, p49 

    This study uses the post-apartheid experiences of former ANC combatants in South Africa to re-conceptualize the long-term biographical consequences of involvement in revolutionary movements. In particular, it examines the social consequences of the anti-apartheid struggle not just on...

  • Comprendiendo la homofobia poscolonial: una propuesta de análisis desde el paradigma sudafricano. Rubio Llona, Aimar // Sociológica;sep-dic2015, Vol. 30 Issue 86, p65 

    This article explores the problem of post-colonial homophobia vis-à-vis discourses, violent masculinities, intersectional discrimination, and HIV-AIDS in Africa in general and in South Africa in particular. The aim is to understand the existing dynamics between post-colonial homophobia and...

  • Economic problems amid South African political change. Birgfeld, Fabian // Harvard International Review;Fall90, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p43 

    Discusses the implications of a stagnating economy for South Africa's success on the political front. Achievements of South African President F.W. de Klerk and ex-prisoner Nelson Mandela; Need to restore economic growth combined with an egalitarian economic system; Inflation, unemployment and...

  • Voices from Africa. Relic, Peter D. // Independent School;Winter97, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p7 

    Opinion. Presents the authors view about the stories of hope and wisdom in South Africa. Telecast message of Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa to his people about the nation's place in the global community; Statements of some African students about the defeat-of rampant crime in South...

  • South Africa: Will it ever change? Judd, Denis // New Statesman;05/29/98, Vol. 127 Issue 4387, p27 

    Describes social conditions in South Africa, after the dissolution the apartheid system. Information on the differences in the apartheid and anti-apartheid systems; Details on different factors that bind the ethnic groups together; Assertion that the social conditions of poor black people have...

  • Geography and development in the `new' South Africa. Binns, Tony // Geography;Jan1998, Vol. 82 Issue 358, p3 

    Explores priorities for post-apartheid South Africa, internally and internationally. Examination of political developments since 1990; Proclamation of Nelson Mandela as the first president of a changed South Africa; Information on South Africa's geography.

  • Dreamers and dealers. Evans, Gavin // New Internationalist;Oct97, Issue 295, p35 

    Opinion. Offers the author's views on the social conditions in South Africa following the general elections there in 1994. Decline in violence; Improvement in freedom of speech; How the author describes its capital Johannesburg; Detailed information on the social improvements in the country.

  • The South African microcosm.  // Wilson Quarterly;Summer91, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p132 

    Reviews the article `One Country, One World,' by Paul Johnson published in the special edition of `Leadership,' in 1991 on ways in which South Africa mirrors the world's challenges. Race; Language; Power; Politics.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics