There are plenty of populists lurking among the Zuma/RET coalition and their camp followers. One sliver of positive news is that most of them also seem to be signed-up members of cliques that can neither shoot, strategise or think straight.
Bryan Rostron has lived and worked as a journalist in South Africa, Italy, New York and London. He has written for The New York Times, the London Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Spectator and was a correspondent for New Statesman. He is the author of Robert McBride: The Struggle Continues and five previous books, including the novels My Shadow and Black Petals. He lives in Cape Town.
For well over a decade violent protests erupted daily throughout South Africa. Unlike the recent paroxysm of unrest, such extensive evidence of rage and despair never triggered a truly national alarm - probably because those years of upheaval were largely localised, separated from suburbia, council chambers and Parliament. Like the fable of the frog unaware of being slowly boiled to death, those outbursts of township frustration gradually became accepted as the status quo. July's cataclysm was the price of our complacency.
The difference last month was that the mayhem spread beyond trashing...