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When I read that the ANC had planned to spend R50-million on a propaganda campaign I was greatly relieved because it allowed me to think better of someone. The person in question, a denizen of Twitter's sweatier fighting pits, had once showered me with hot, pungent sanctimony after I'd criticised the ANC, and I had gone away believing him to be a willfully stupid supporter of kleptocrats. But when news broke of the ANC's “war room”, everything changed. Because there he was, named as a valued member of the lavishly paid goon squad. The relief rolled over me like a Gupta rolling over a cabinet minister. His criticisms hadn't been personal. They hadn't even been heartfelt. Rather than being a self-righteous prick he was simply being professional: putting the “pro” in propaganda. My relief, however, was tinged with sadness. Because, even though I was happy to discover that my accuser was simply cranking out lies-by-the-yard for money, I felt terribly sorry for the country's other propag...

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