Fixing SA is no longer the work of a generation, but of several. Before we get into it, it’s worth remembering that this country was born broken. The brainchild of two soldiers keen on white reconciliation, the idea of SA in 1910 was the solution to a bitter imperial-settler war for resources. It excluded black people, and stayed broken until 1994.

As the thirtieth anniversary of the democratic dispensation heaves into view it is always worth keeping regard for a wider sweep of history. Be that as it may, though, our current-day crisis of everything rolls on, and it feels like a time for a reckoning. That starts with a dispassionate aerial view; we have to accept that the state is in many places non-functional, in others badly denuded, and that the direction of travel is bad...

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