In his state of the nation address last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa once again invoked Nelson Mandela’s desire to bind SA into a single covenant. We were to build a country, he quoted Mandela saying, “where all South Africans, black and white, will be able to walk tall, without fear in their hearts”.

The thing is, though, that when Mandela spoke not everyone understood him the same way. And the differences in the messages we heard matter a great deal.

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