Call it naïve, but surely SA’s rainbow hangover can’t be a bad ...

Ideas

Call it naïve, but surely SA’s rainbow hangover can’t be a bad thing

As dispiriting as the past quarter century has been, we’re still unified by the same basic desires we had in 1994

Columnist

SA’s government of national unity, a rancorous marriage between ideological enemies, presiding over a country with a murder rate almost twice its current one, took 742 days to produce and generally agree on the first iteration of our constitution.

SA’s fifth democratic president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has taken 638 days to produce a rough consensus that, given the right conditions, few of which exist right now, and a different team of colleagues, which he can’t or won’t assemble, he might be ready, in principle, to lead this country in a direction that, at least in theory, might be a good one, unless the trade unions say no, in which case forget I mentioned it.

This might be an unfair comparison. As our country matures, the scope for dramatic progress diminishes. Nelson Mandela’s SA was one in which the stroke of a pen could demolish dozens of unjust laws. Ramaphosa’s is a place of cautious, incremental change to arcane bits of policy, his hand partially stayed by the very constitution he helped create...

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