GARETH VAN ONSELEN: The revolution is coming to a city near you
Cities are laboratories for social unrest. When xenophobia first manifested in a serious way, it was in Johannesburg and Tshwane
There is something of a misconception when it comes to the great urban/rural divide that runs through SA, both physically and mentally. The assumption is that it is “out there” where the roots of extreme discontent are to be found — in the frontier that is the country’s rural expanse.
It is here, consensus would have it, that people are most susceptible to revolution. The rural poor, uneducated, isolated and held hostage by a “peasant” economy and culture. Here is where anger, apathy and alienation form the most potent cocktail. And thus, where radical socialism is most intoxicating. But, if recent events are anything to go by — and by recent one means the last decade — it is unlikely that, if a revolution does come, it will manifest first in the great expanse. More likely, it will explode into life in our cities.