Casting My Bitter-Sweet Vote
Casting My Bitter-Sweet Vote
The feeling! – That feeling a black young South African voter of 1994 felt is what’s going through my veins. My whole body is in turmoil of uncertainties of what is about to come next. As a first time voter I am to entrust my vote on a government just like the young fellow in a polling station in Soweto did back two years ago – that feeling – their feeling is what I feel today.
Freedom – “the power or right to act, speak and think as one wants.”
My vote is for all these freedoms I have been awarded by the government of this country – the ANC and everybody one else who helped a black person through the struggle. For it is with these freedoms that I am able to pen this peace now.
It with through freedoms that I am to gain access to quality education and knowledge to help me progress in life in any and every aspect my free self can possibly imagine. It is via these freedoms that I have consciously made my choice to exercise my right to vote.
The African National Congress – My ANC, and its 20 years of reign has given me and a whole lot of other young people of South Africa what was only a dream to our parents. The chance to live in a free democratic society; a society that has no tolerance for racial discrimination, a society that recognizes all sexes as equals and a society where opportunities for grown and empowerment are nourished.
Because of these freedoms, my discrimination is never direct like the one my parents endured. My discrimination is subliminal – an attack to a fellow brother and sister that I take offence to because they are the same skin colour as myself. I take offence on their behalf because at the end of the day they are HUMAN.
Because of these freedoms I have never in my entire existence been commanded to use an “Only Blacks” bathroom. However I know very well what is like to struggle with the Italian taps in bathroom basins at the mall and the momentous pain of struggling with the hand drying machine. Because such luxuries were never provided when taking a dump in a dungeon in village - with the sun scorching hot above my head.
My vote for the ANC is bitter-sweet because:
If one is being practical and realistic, twenty years of redress is nothing compared to the physical and psychological and economic damage apartheid rule did to our country. This is work in progress, and thus far the ANC has made many strides to help the people of South Africa. However no blind eye must be turned to the corrupt tendencies of ANC officials – especially in regional and local municipalities.
My vote is bitter-sweet because the ANC afforded me an education of higher learning when I had no means to do so myself – for this I am eternally grateful. Yet my stomach turns every time I go back to the Village in the former Transkei and see the mud-school and that round hurt I started out in back in 1999 still standing with no hope of new buildings anytime soon.
I am bitter towards the ANC because the taps provided for clean water in the village sometimes go over a month without running and my people are forced to go back to fetch water in the river whilst there’s a decaying horse upstream. I am bitter at the ANC because the only time we get to see Zuma and his allegiance of people is when voting time is around the corner and they are giving my people free T-shirts for their votes. Exploiting our Gogo’s and Oupa’s for their lack of literacy and better knowledge of politician’s tactics and vicious mind games.
I am bitter towards the ANC because I know first-hand what it feels like to grow up and live in a village without electricity for 20 years since the dawn of democracy. To be unable to watch the annual budget speech, or the news and engage in critical conversations with people when I go back to school in the city - simply because our darkness has not yet seen light.
And I think you would be bitter too if you knew of the excruciating and time consuming pain it takes to use steel iron to burn our candle drops on your school jersey. If you knew of the amount of time it takes to heat up water on a paraffin stove in the morning - or even worse - doing outside with wood and cow dung covered in frost in a cold winter morning. I am very familiar with all these pains – pains caused by government not fulfilling its promises to the people.
On a more not so gloomy note, I must commend the ANC for its agricultural initiatives with the women of the village – providing women with the necessary skills to earn their own income and start SME’s. No one can forget the difference the BBBEE act has had on many black entrepreneurs in this country – again in an effort to redress economic resources and foster black economic participation. The Employment Equity act obliging companies to employ people of colour and foster affirmative action not just in the lower ranks of organisations but in significant positions – a liberty we never had before.
Every party has its shortcomings, and the ANC has its own too – but I cannot for the life of me simply let them shun over the greatness and successes of the ruling party.
I am bitter-sweet with my vote, YES. But I am voting nonetheless – because that feeling – the feeling a black child felt back then in 1994 resonates within me.
@Pkay_N on Twitter
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