The local government election results have offered a salient reminder: though high-level “national” conversations about party politics and ideology dominate analysis of SA’s governance crisis, to gain an understanding of voting patterns in any given ward or municipality you need to have a sense of place.

That is to say, you must be familiar with the complexities of intersecting social and economic dynamics particular to a community or communities; you must take account of specific geographies and microhistories, which will as often as not resist the common narratives about that place. ..

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