I am watching the television news. Things seem to be collapsing. The communications network crashed today with neither cellphones nor the Internet working. Power station strikes threaten country-wide electricity blackouts. There have been protest marches about a pending increase in electricity tariffs and a local demonstration about cuts in local medical services. Petrol costs have gone up to R11.50 a litre and there are frequent incidents of naughty motorists driving off from service stations without payment. Oh, and on the human news level a local man has just shot dead his rival for a girlfriend’s affections. But far from being tough they live hugely protected lives, with generous state benefits covering unemployment, health and child care. They are not at all rebellious but the most biddable and obedient of citizens in one of the world’s few remaining welfare states. And they are certainly not all white.