In August 1971, Private Eye magazine did something that made north London liberals extremely cross. It published a cartoon featuring two tribesmen, dressed in grass skirts and colourful headgear, standing on a termite mound addressing their subjects. "I will now ask the chancellor of the exchequer," the taller of the two declares, "to present his budget speech." Nearly 47 years later — about the time it has taken for this jumpy lot to calm down — the cartoon has gone and come to life in SA. An actual Village Elder of Number Count and Forecast-ing Accurate Make has been created; his name is Prof Christopher Malikane. Malikane was the subject of criticism even before he addressed an audience last Saturday night at the Blacks in Dialogue seminar. Calls have been made for his dismissal as an adviser to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba — some have even gone so far as to demand his silencing. However primitive, prejudiced or discredited Malikane’s views are, the calls for his sacking or muz...

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