Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Rainbow Nation Navigation

My friend lent me this book: Rainbow Nation Navigation: A practical guide to South African cultures.

Front cover of “Rainbow Nation Navigation”

Back cover of “Rainbow Nation Navigation”

(Being a nerd, I need to read about something in order to validate my experiences.)

This book has opened my eyes to the major cultures that exist in this country: no wonder it’s called the rainbow nation.

Moreover, it illustrates a South African mentality that’s very different from Canadian’s.

Back home, we pride ourselves on multiculturalism.  I grew up learning about the values of tolerance and acceptance.  It’s taboo not to celebrate diversity – even if our thoughts and actions are sometimes hostile towards other ethnicities.

I don’t think this sort of book would not exist in Vancouver because you’re expected to understand other cultures.  Although racial segregation exists and many friend groups are ethnically analogous, you’re still expected to try to be friends with everyone.

In South Africa, however, it’s more difficult to cross racial boundaries.  I hear things like “These people think this way” or “Those people just don’t understand this.”

Many people are trying, though, to create a more inclusive country.  This book proves that.


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2 thoughts on “Rainbow Nation Navigation

  1. Paula Marais on said:

    Thanks so much! As one of the authors of this book, I am very pleased it’s reached you in Canada! Paula Marais

    • It’s a great book, Paula! Thanks for putting all the time in to research and write it.

      I’m actually living in Johannesburg right now. My coworkers and I really enjoyed reading it. One Zulu colleague read the Zulu section and said, “This is useful for me! I need to know these taboos too.”


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