Multiculturalists can sometimes have a simplistic view of ethnic cultures as homogenous entities, having core, essential characteristics. The reality is much more complicated. Multiculturalism has received a bad press in recent years. Many of the ills attributed to multiculturalism have been caused by a ‘triple transition’: an unravelling of the nation state; de-industrialization in urban manufacturing heartlands; and retrenchment in welfare state provisions. But what does multiculturalism actually mean? Should traditional cultural practices be allowed to override considerations of essential human rights? Are the complaints against multiculturalism justified?