On municipal election day 15 years ago, in March 2006, I was working in an outlying village in Lusikisiki in the old Transkei. I had been visiting periodically for two years by then, and most villagers knew me by name or by sight. 

That morning, when I greeted the young man who worked with me, he looked at me askance, the wariness in his eyes unmasked. “Where will you vote?” he asked. “My ward is in Johannesburg,” I replied. “I will not be able to vote.” He took this in and said nothing, his disapproval quite obvious. ..

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