A cheer swept through the crowd, as hundreds of residents waited restlessly in the autumn sun for President Cyril Ramaphosa to arrive in Alexandra. The enthusiasm shifted, tracking movement through the crowd, until a man ran up to the temporary stage and the reason for the cheer became clear. As he hoisted a tyre above his head, the crowd erupted. Another resident shook a box of matches — a sinister symbol of what could follow. Last Thursday, that tyre did not become yet another sacrifice on the altar of anger. But the remnants of the tyres burnt in the lead-up to Ramaphosa’s visit to the township remained, more than a week after service delivery protests first broke out in the area.

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