Every once in a while, especially after we’ve just received our annual royalty cheques, my friends Zukiswa Wanner, Niq Mhlongo and I sit down for a drink at a watering hole in Melville. Because we write award-winning novels no-one reads (except insomniac professors and their impressionable students), our combined earnings can buy just one bottle of whisky. One of us will finally start the conversation: "Unlike James Patterson [or any author reviled by intellectuals but loved by the public] we write novels that make people think about the human condition. We haven’t sold out." We’re always railing against fellow wordsmiths who drink better whisky, drive better cars and live in posher neighbourhoods. Ranging from spin doctors to commercial novelists — we call them glorified typists — they earn loads of money for producing doggerel. I was reminded of this line of thinking when I read what NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku had written in defence of acting national director Silas Ramaite, wh...

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