The 56,000-seat Moses Mabhida Stadium in the South African port city of Durban was jammed for the unveiling of the ruling African National Congress’ election manifesto launch.

"We are supported by millions and millions of people,” President Cyril Ramaphosa told the cheering crowd in February, scoffing at the notion that his party was a spent political force after three decades in power. "The ANC remains the party of choice.”

In the weeks that followed, the arena built to host the FIFA World Cup in 2010 was full again. But it was the ANC’s rivals, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Economic Freedom Fighters, that packed it to capacity.