The fortress built around Cyril Ramaphosa in the run-up to his election as ANC president, and dramatically strengthened after he was sworn in, was impressive indeed. A grand monument to denial, it seemed for a time impenetrable. The walls, forged in hope and belief, stood twenty foot high. And, inside, Ramaphosa ruled as King over those who submitted to his worldview: that just over the next horizon, the sun would break.

But you cannot build a single fortress in a vast, warring landscape and not expect the external universe to slowly but steadily impose itself on you. Just as a bubble cannot last long in the sea, before it is popped and re-integrated into the deep blue.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now