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?

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