Nineteen years ago I reported on the US for SA’s biggest newspaper, the Sunday Times. I was an absolute failure at my job.

You see, we wrote about scandal then and now as if it was invented, refined and implemented in Africa. We write about the "big man of Africa" or the "kleptocratic leader" of some country. When I reported on then US president George W Bush, or then UK prime minister Tony Blair, I didn’t stop to remind myself that the two were a war-thirsty pair who ratcheted up the rhetoric to attack Afghanistan and Iraq without any evidence whatsoever that those countries were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

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