n African Journal of Rhetoric - The rhetoric of Thabo Mbeki's 'Two nations' speech and the plague of Manicheanism in South Africa

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


In this article, Thabo Mbeki's 'Two Nations Speech' which argued that South Africa is a country of two nations will be re-read by applying Frantz Fanon's concept of Manicheanism. The central argument is that the speech articulated the existential reality of South Africa and it digressed from the myth of the rainbow nation by touching the fault line of the nation - that is, the scandal of race. To serve as testimony to this, the encoding and decoding of 'Two Nations' speech reflected the racial divide and the stand point of Mbeki as the speaking subject was the direct confrontation with the lived reality of race as opposed to 'obsession with race'. In the speech, having articulated the true reflection of the nation, Mbeki was castigated by the chorus of the liberal consensus for dividing the nation and playing what is popularly known as 'the race card'. In re-reading the 'Two Nations' speech, the debate that surrounds it will be revisited and it will be argued that the so-called 'BBE class' were used as scapegoats in order to deviate from the scandal of race. Furthermore, the conception of non-racialism will be engaged and to examine whether it is a contradiction or not in the realm of the content of the speech. Therefore, it is the contention of this article that Mbeki had the right to be the speaking subject and his speechmaking and speechwriting affirmed him as the vox populi. The article also criticises Mbeki as the speaking subject, arguing that he was a faux pas in some areas of the content of the speech qua his role as the deputy president and president of South Africa respectively.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error