Nationhood means different things to different people: in SA we associate it with positive symbols such as the
Rainbow People, Nelson Mandela, our flag or national teams, especially when they are winning. When that is shaken, as it was by recent violent turmoil, we reach for the national Prozac: finger-pointing and loud debates on media platforms, while think-tanks rush to host dialogues and webinars.

Similarly, notions of the state go through vicissitudes: Mandela’s cabinet and RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme), when the government could do no wrong; to Thabo “Mr Delivery” Mbeki; to the “New Dawn” of President Cyril Ramaphosa after the detour of the “nine wasted years”. When things go pear-shaped we get into paroxysms about the predatory state, cadre deployment, and even how much better things were under
the apartheid state. Lurking, almost unobtrusively, is the hyphen between nation and state,with some suggesting
nationalism is that link.