Can South Africans be friends across ‘racial’ boundaries? Yes and no.

Now that the season of realpolitik is upon us in South Africa and the rainbow nation myth is receding we must ask ourselves whether we still need a framework of reconciliation that presupposes friendship across the races as an important and useful barometer of the health of the nation.

Some will argue that the question of friendship is frivolous. They will say we must be more concerned with matters of politics and economics than of emotion, and that we don’t need to be friends; we simply need not to interfere with one another’s destinies. Others will insist that we must indeed be friends. They will wring their hands and argue that to abandon the idea of friendship is to abandon an important national ideal and perhaps to abandon a peaceful future.

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