How times have changed. The ANC’s victory in SA’s first democratic elections 25 years ago, with 63% of the vote, was a euphoric moment at home and abroad. Last week’s 57% win by the governing party was met with a grudging sigh of relief from a gatvol nation — relief that the polls were over, and that it could have been worse. The world briefly glanced up, then moved on. Much contemporary electoral analysis converges around the view that “the centre has held”, with 78% of voters opting for either the ANC or the largest opposition party, the DA. In this version, the electoral gains of the EFF and FF+ do not indicate serious racial polarisation. South Africans, once again, held it together and broke with the global trend that is embracing greater extremes. Perhaps. And perhaps only for a moment. Let us look ahead. Three notable trends should be considered in SA’s political future. First, declining support for the two largest parties demonstrates growing distrust of, and waning confide...

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