Tyler Cowen very graciously links to my explanation of unemployment in South Africa: "I told him I would try to answer the question, but after a bit of research I don’t find myself getting much further than his suggestions." I take that to mean not that I've captured all the nuances, but that my (probably pretty half-assed) explanation at least hits most of the major points.
For me, the important thing about South Africa in this regard is it's a gut check for how seriously one takes ideas. The place is a kind of a dark mirror of the United States, where the optimal policies really include a lot of neoliberalism and Republican union-busting. (In moderation.) Exercises like that are important to avoid sloganeering and tribal groupthink.