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Long before he entered Parliament and moved up and down the ladder of power, and now up again, Cyril Ramaphosa was a communist and a trade unionist. Perhaps, as he eyes the glittering prize of the presidency that is why union federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party support his bid. It is unclear how fast Ramaphosa’s attachment to communism is today. Possibly, his decade-long, highly lucrative detour into the world of business cured him of his earlier alignment. But his equivocal and evasive answers to questions on the Constitution, whose creation once cemented his reputation as negotiator par excellence, in the National Assembly last Thursday, brings to mind an even more famous former communist. In the 1930s, Arthur Koestler was a fervent European communist and true believer. He was also, of course, a great writer. When he became one of the earliest dissenters from Stalinism in 1938, his disillusionment with a communism that had quickly morphed into unbridled totalit...

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