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[LISTEN] COVID-19 Dividing “Rainbow Nation” Not Uniting All

May 29, 2020


Faizel Patel – 29/05/2020

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

Photo: Business Tech

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) says the COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed South Africa’s underlying issues of race, class and extreme levels of poverty.

The IJR’s Stan Henkeman was speaking to Radio Islam on Friday about President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for a new social compact among all role players including business, labour, community and government to restructure the economy and achieve inclusive growth.

South Africa will see some sort of resemblance to a more normal way of life from Monday after Ramaphosa announced the country would move to Level 3 of the lockdown.

While this is good news, what has become clear over the past two months, is that as much as Ramaphosa and others promote the idea that Covid-19 see no class, race or religion, South Africa may proof to be the exception.

Henkeman says there was a stigma when initial cases of the Coronavirus were identified.

“It’s the poor and the marginalized that kind of have to bear the brunt of this because it is easy for middle class people and people with means and with space to do the basics like social distancing. It’s almost impossible in certain situations for poorer people.”

He says sentiments about the “Rainbow Nation” may be farfetched.

“If you think about who speaks about the rainbow nation, it’s people who would prefer a situation where poorer people are pacified and we can just get on with life. The idea of a rainbow nation is a wonderful idea, but it is not something that is feasible given the kind of challenges we have in this country.”

Henkeman says he is encouraged by the outpouring of support by various people and NGO’s to less fortunate communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Listen to the interview with Stan Henkeman 



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