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I’m surprised that many South Africans still believe that a rattlesnake is a guide dog, even after the snake has bitten them. But I’m also surprised that others still blame the rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake. “Bad rattlesnake!” they cry, never moving beyond their frankly mad belief that a rattlesnake might, with a few small improvements, become a good friend.

So when does it stop? At what point do we set aside these vexing, limited beliefs that politicians are either liberators or crooks? When do we mature enough to start wondering if it’s much, much more complicated than good and bad; that it’s something else entirely?

For example, what if most senior members of the ANC literally don’t know the difference between right and wrong? What if the party has become so infused with corruption that graft now feels as normal as breathing?

This week the ANC announced that it is “shocked” by the extent of corruption in this country.   Many South Africans have reacted to the ANC’s shock with shock of their own, expressing astonishment that Cyril Ramaphosa’s party could be so eyewateringly two-faced.   I wasn’t shocked, but I must confess that I’m surprised.   Mostly, I’m surprised that we’re still here.  I’m surprised that we’re still finding ourselves emotionally ambushed by the hypocrisy of politicians; that we’re still bitterly aghast when the thieves clutch their pearls and claim they didn’t know the heist was happening.I’m surprised that many South Africans still believe that a rattlesnake is a guide dog, even after the snake has bitten them. But I’m also surprised that others still blame the rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake. “Bad rattlesnake!” they cry, never moving beyond their frankly mad belief that a rattlesnake might, with a few small improvements, become a good friend.  So when does it stop? At what point...

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