Whenever I have written about the possibilities of a revolution in our country, I have been accused of overstating matters.
Now our president has called the looting violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng an insurrection.
The sense I get is that it was actually only a few notches shy of an attempted coup.
If not a national one, then at least provincial.
The evidence of that is that the looting was one thing, easily attributed to mob mentality; but the systematic torching of businesses, like the Distell plant, had carefully orchestrated political motives.
Disrupting economic activity and controlling the flow of information are key components of most coups.
Nothing else explains the business torching and targeting of community radio stations, in a region where most of the residents rely on them for their information.
This is where I want to return to a previous argument I made, that government needs to put a lot more resources into education.
It is even more important now that social media controls public discourse, can shape public opinion and camouflage propaganda as truths.
Without the critical thinking skills to question disinformation and form intelligent conclusions, many become trapped inside an echo chamber of fake news, which by definition results in intransigence.
Had we ensured that every child had an equal, high quality education at the dawn of our democracy, followed by free university education and compulsory community service, we would have a highly literate youth now.
While some regular people are very capable of intellectual reasoning, most require the scholarly discipline of higher education to give them the ability to think critically.
But of course there is a conundrum for politicians.
While a highly literate electorate is more likely to reason away from acts of mass violence, they are likely to use that ability to reason at the polls come election time.
And that would mean politicians easily getting the boot and others not getting elected at all.
Yes, I’m looking at you, occupying high office with nothing more than a matric certificate.
But as long as we allow ignorance to breed, we will be at risk of mass social unrest.
Because there will always be someone who will manipulate and exploit an ill-educated society for their own ends.
This has been proven in the US, where it is now evident that most of the people who stormed the capital in January have a bare minimum level of education.
If anything, the looting showed us how fragile our democracy really is.
Those of us who live in relative comfort, cannot keep ignoring the ongoing plight of the poor.
It is a powder keg, and any fool smart enough to recognise it, can be the spark.