JONATHAN JANSEN: Is this South Africa's magic formula?
There are a few powerful reasons why we are always able to pull back from the precipice
More recently I watched from where I now reside how distraught Cape Town people were about the potential name-change to this airport that brings more tourists into the country than any other. But black nationalists were on a roll and everything had to carry the brand of African nationalism. Until someone posted this on social media. “The airport should be called Joe Masepus international airport. The locals will love it.” You could almost feel the tension dissipate as everyone laughed at this very smart use of local language to show the finger at authority.
Why does South Africa not fall off the precipice? Economists are clear that if this economy does not grow soon, the prospects of new jobs are dismal and rising unemployment will be our fate. Educationists are clear that if the decline in education quality and the high drop-out rates continue, schools and universities will fail to produce the expertise required to rebuild the economy. Political scientists warn that the continued increase in social unrest and lawlessness, coupled with the loss of trust in public institutions, threaten the long-term stability of this young democracy. Once again it seems as if the country is at the edge of the precipice—and yet, we never go over the edge. Which raises the puzzling question, what holds South Africa together?The first is our remarkable capacity for self-correction. There were about a dozen books in the late 1980s with frightful titles that warned of a racial bloodbath because of an intransigent white government and an widespread black res...