The shoe is on the other foot

The post-colonial looting of Africa (the kind that follows the outdated, colonial kind)

In South Africa, Dalrymple is invited to dinner at an industrialist’s house, in the kind of property that on its periphery resembles

an armed camp.

Among Dalrymple’s fellow invitees are important figures in the African National Congress. He speaks to one leader, a communist. The man wears

a sharp and expensive Italian suit.

The man sticks to the party line, but Dalrymple guesses that his thoughts and feelings are

more aligned with crony capitalism than with the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The man’s shoes are

of fine lizard skin, with gilded trimming — more for ornament than use, their soles paper-thin; beautifully made. They can be worn only in the most luxurious of environments; a gravel driveway would ruin them. They are the kind of shoes that Russian oligarchs buy at a cost of thousands in the most expensive shopping street in Zurich.

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