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Election 1994

2014-05-08 08:48
Patrick Royal Comments: 0 Article views: 236
Today 20 years ago, I was given one of the most profound and deeply moving opportunities of my life - that of being asked to document our first democratic voting day up in the rural area of Elandskop near Pietermaritzbug. I was with a German journalist (can't remember his name) doing a shoot for the Jhb-based Weely Mail. We arrived at around 11:30am to find hoardes of people who had been waiting patiently there since 4:30am that morning. The extraordinary queue snaked precariously around the entire perimeter of a massive soccer field. We were accompanying the local fiery IFP candidate, David Ntombela, whose presence caused such a stir that the 7hr queue just crumbled as people rushed to get close to him. It was a desperate sight to see, and the officials tried in vain to get the queue back into some order of semblance. But it was the elderly people who really caught my attention that day, as they held their voter-ready ID books for the first time in their weathered hands. One old lady, crutches by her side, was fast asleep in the dust and blazing sun - the day's proceedings clearly too much for her. Another was unable to walk, but was so determined to make her mark that she was being carried by her family. Then as I looked out along the long road that the people were using to make their way to the voting station, I saw a very old man emerging through the haze and dust - painfully shuffling along with a walking stick on one side & support from a younger woman on the other. Nothing was going to stop this man - neither age nor sickness. It was a truly humbling experience seeing these gentle people coming to finally make their mark.

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