Perhaps it is cause for celebration that the country has not disintegrated into the worst clichés about African strongmen and kleptocracies in just a few years.
But in a way, the slow ebb is even worse: South Africa feasted on its Boer legacy for the first few years, but with each passing year now it only falls further behind. What societal model has the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, built in the stead of apartheid? A virtual one-party rule unchallenged in six elections in a row, creeping racialism, an elite black class built on patronage, and rampant corruption, with officials chafing at the colonial institutions and norms safeguarding it from becoming like the rest of the continent.
Descent to this state in say, 1997, would have been tragic, but to be here in 2019 is depressing.