Why notice the rest of the world when you can blame everything on Jacob Zuma and the Guptas? This country’s debate often takes a long time to notice what is happening in the rest of the world, or fails to notice it at all. This is even more likely when there is a ready-made excuse for ignoring it.

A wave of global protest — in Europe (France, Britain and Spain), the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon), Asia (Hong Kong), Latin America (Chile, Ecuador, Brazil) and Africa (Guinea) has gone mostly unnoticed here. In some, political issues are at the centre. But the others are sparked by economic grievances — usually a rise in a tax that becomes too much for people at the wrong end of rising inequality or, as in Britain and Brazil, concerns about the environment.

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