During the 1980s and 1990s, the struggle against apartheid made headlines all over the world. Nelson Mandela’s dignity, first as a prisoner and then as president, gave him the international status of a Gandhi. Events in post-apartheid, post-Mandela SA, were always likely to seem relatively humdrum. But the political struggle currently under way in the country still matters to the world. Its outcome may determine whether SA can arrest an alarming slide in its fortunes. Cyril Ramaphosa, the new leader of the governing ANC, is attempting to ease President Jacob Zuma out of his job early. The operation is delicate and its outcome uncertain. Even if Ramaphosa succeeds, he will face formidable challenges in reforming a corrupted government and a stuttering economy. But that makes it all the more important that SA’s slide is halted quickly — before the glory of the Mandela years gives way to something altogether more disturbing. In the immediate post-apartheid years, SA seemed poised to bu...

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