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For many, the idea of an SA without the ANC is jarring, scary, perhaps even unimaginable. This is a party that has been at the centre of our lives for the 27 years of SA’s democracy, and for 82 years before that. Nearly all SA’s liberation organisations — and many post-apartheid opposition parties — are offshoots of the ANC. Most homeland leaders under apartheid genuflected before the ANC. It has been everything.

Yet the possibility that many of us have spoken about for the past 14 years is setting in now. The ANC, even with a principled, not-so-new leader in Cyril Ramaphosa, is dying. The looming local elections and the 2024 national elections may not be the end, but there is no serious analyst who would posit that a great surge of ANC popularity is imminent...

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