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In his inaugural lecture at the University of Cape Town a few years ago, economist Martin Wittenberg showed a graphic originally constructed as a metaphor for income inequality in Europe four decades ago. In 1971, Dutch economist Jan Pen took a person of average height (average income) and measured the population against that in the form of an hour-long march. He was describing the earnings distribution among businesses in the UK. Instead of a steady parade of people of increasing heights, with many clustered around the average, it was a march of many dwarfs and a few giants. The graphic can be viewed here. Now imagine Pen’s parade applied to SA, a country with much starker inequality. The results are breathtaking. Wittenberg used a picture of himself at Green Point Park, with Signal Hill as a backdrop, as the "average" — a man about 1.8m tall — to illustrate inequality in 1993 at the end of apartheid. It took 46 minutes for the marchers to reach average size, and by then, almost 30...

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