Former president Jacob Zuma was seen by many in Africa as a great leveller. This was not because of any attempt to address inequality among his people but because he aligned SA to the broader African experience of governance. His behaviour, together with that of his ministers and friends, removed any sense that SA is exceptional in Africa, a perception that used to be held by many in the international community but also by South Africans themselves. Zuma can take responsibility for finally putting that issue to rest. As SA’s media uncovered the excesses and murky strategies of the Zuma administration, revealing new dirt almost daily, many Africans expressed concern about SA’s trajectory. This was not because their own governments were better, but because they weren’t. They have lived with the continued erosion of value in their institutions, lifestyles, governance and other key areas of life. African countries from west to east have shown at times in their history how easily the rot...

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