Axing the Rainbow

Does Fallism reconfigure post-apartheid nationhood in South Africa?

  • Irina Turner Bayreuth University, Germany


Today, the Rainbow Nation as the central metaphor for postapartheid South Africa falls short of serving as a unifying identification marker due to its tendency to gloss over contrasting living realities of diversified identities and ongoing systemic discrimination. The South African Fallism movements – the student-driven protests against neocolonial structures in academic institutions – spearheaded public criticism with the current state of ongoing social disparity in South Africa and revived the critique of so-called rainbowism, i.e., the belief that a colour-blind society can be created. In an application of Critical Discourse Analysis focusing on mythical metaphors, this article asks to what extent the new president Cyril Ramaphosa in his maiden State of the Nation Address projected a post-Zuma South African nation and answered to the challenges posed by Fallists.

Author Biography

Irina Turner, Bayreuth University, Germany

Irina Turner is academic councillor at the chair of African linguistics at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Her research interests are interdisciplinary questions of cultural and media studies, political communication and applied linguistics, which enquire communication practices and language change in South Africa. She holds a Master of Arts in Media Theory and Practice from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a degree in Arts Management from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany. E-mail:

How to Cite
TURNER, Irina. Axing the Rainbow. Modern Africa: Politics, History and Society, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 81-110, july 2019. ISSN 2570-7558. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 sep. 2020. doi: