It was exactly 30 years on Sunday since that momentous day, February 2 1990, when FW de Klerk stood up in parliament and unleashed an earthquake that shattered age-old tectonic plates — unbanning political organisations such as the ANC, the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) and the SA Communist Party (SACP), releasing political prisoners and setting in motion steps for a negotiated settlement.

At the end of the speech, we were all — pro- and antigovernment forces alike — gasping for breath. Gobsmacked, we were not sure we had heard him right. Maybe our senses were playing tricks on us. Or maybe there was a sting in the tail. One could imagine at that moment people turning to each other for some reassurance that they had not taken leave of their senses...

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