Biography of Nelson Mandela

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On the night of his electoral victory, following the first democratic election in South Africa after years of racist oligarchy, Nelson Mandela began his victory address in a conventional style: “My fellow South Africans – the people of South Africa” (Guardian 3 May 1994 cited in Billig 1997:97). He went on to describe the new South Africa , “the type of South Africa we can build”. From his message it was clear that the country he spoke of had a unique, identifiable and addressable people: “The speech appealed to ‘us’, the people, the country, the nation. South Africa is called the ‘Rainbow Nation’. This is because of its multicultural diversity, after different groups came here in previous centuries. We are called the Rainbow nation because this means unity of multi-culturalism and the coming-together of people of many different races. Within South African indigenous cultures, the rainbow is associated with hope and a bright future (as in Xhosa culture). The colours are simply said to symbolise the diversity of South Africa's usually unspecified cultural, ethnic or racial groups. Whether you are pink, yellow, black, blue or white we are all equal and stand to have a good future ahead of us. This term was also found by the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, later Nelson Mandela elaborated this by saying: "Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world" (Guardian 11 May 1994 cited in Billig 1997:97). Following from this, the aim of this assay is to explore the construction and representation of ‘Rainbow Nation” in the local soap opera series, Generations.... ... middle of paper ... ... what is told and retold in national histories, literatures, the media and popular culture. These provide a set of stories, images, landscapes, scenario, historical events, national symbols and rituals which stand for, or represent shared experience, sorrows, and triumphs and disasters which give meaning to the nation. As members of such an ‘imagined community’, we see ourselves in our mind’s eye, sharing this narrative. Investing in this kind of identity lends significance and importance to our existence, connecting our everyday lives with a national destiny that pre-existed us and will outlive us. Thus the narrative of Generations plays an important role in giving meaning to what constitutes the South African generation as we move into the 21st century, as well as shaping how members of a South African nation imagine the broader community of South African people

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