Samuel Motsuenyane, who died recently, has won much praise for his role in pushing for Africans to have space in the SA economy. But what has been left unsaid is that he did all that in a tortured environment for African business people and others who, from the 1970s onwards, scaled the short ladder corporate SA had created for them.

As ANC literature and that of its alliance partner, the SA Communist Party, shows, the ANC had become during this period ambivalent at best, and hostile at worst, to what it labelled the African petty bourgeoisie. The African petty bourgeoisie is a Marxian term that was used then as a class segmentation descriptor as much as a politically pejorative label...

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