Rekgotsofetse Chikane’s fiery account of the #MustFall student movements that rocked our nation between 2013 and 2016, is a must-read.
In his book, Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation, Chikane expertly navigates the events as they occurred on the ground, something few journalists or writers were able to do at the time or since.
He foregrounds these movements as a necessary process and outcome of South African democracy, which he frames as littered with challenges.
The scribe goes on to address everything from racial inequality, class disparity and even patriarchy.
Chikane does not shy away from addressing the most important issues young, black South Africans are facing in what he calls “a post -1994 South Africa.”
His descriptions of inequality between white and black South Africans, wealthy and impoverished South Africans and the rising black elite serves, to him, as a backdrop to the conversations around land, free education and the lingering legacy of colonial fetishism.
Here he considers the rainbow nation imagery that many young South Africans were forced to grow up with and allows his readers the opportunity to see the cracks in the narrative.
Speaking to the importance of youth activism and change led by young people, he takes into account the desperate desire for reform and a need to renegotiate the terms upon which our democracy stands.
Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation will no doubt go on to be a staple for anyone hoping to understand the complex socio-economic plateau of a country still choosing to ride on the political railway tracks laid by apartheid, and the untold stories of the young people fighting to change the course of our collective history.