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Democracy: Our 18-year-old teenage daughter

27 April 2012, 10:58

In celebration of our beautiful 18 year old teenage daughter Democracy on Freedom Day Friday 27 April 2012. Happy birthday to you. Your birth on 27 April 1994 wasn't an easy one.

Many of us were very excited about it. Some among us were very anxious, even scared, that your birth would bring about retribution and bloodshed amongst the various members of your very diverse South African family.

Some of your family members left our home even before you were born. Others packed their bags after you were born, and left to settle elsewhere, all over the world.I will never forget that day, the day of your birth. We didn't quite know what to expect. The whole world was watching.


The air was heavily pregnant with expectation, excitement, and even fear. Now dearest Democracy, I need to explain something to you that might sound very complicated. And I will understand if you don't understand this.A child is normally born from one father and one mother. But you are a miracle baby. You were born from many mothers and fathers in our country.


Mothers and fathers who sacrificed so much for you over the years. Mothers and fathers who were oppressed, marginilised, jailed, killed. Mothers and fathers who stood steadfast in the belief and faith that nothing would stop them from bringing you into life in our beloved country.So you need to understand the context of your You have had great mothers and fathers over the years.

People with vision, passion, enthusiasm, love for our country South Africa. They are too many to mention. In fact your birth was planned in the year 1912.
So you will understand that I can't name the many people who planned for your birth over the years.

But allow me to name some of them: John Dube, Albert Luthuli, Gertrude Shope, Ray Alexander, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Winnie Mandela, Helen Suzman, Steve Biko, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Dullah Omar, Allan Boesak, Fatima Meer, Govan Mbeki, Thabo Mbeki, ...the list will bore you Democracy.


Colourful people whose only resolve was to ensure the birth of our daughter Democracy. And they all stood together, steadfast, as a beacon of hope and strength, until your birth.Over the years you have given us much pleasure, much to think and talk and be proud and even fight about.

However, in the last few years, as you have entered and gone through your teenage years, we are experiencing the effect of the complexities of youth, the exploration of youth that normally takes us on a roller coaster of instability and experimentation, to find the right balance for life going forward.

In the process of your roller coaster ride, some opportunists have climbed onto the band wagon to exploit the situation to their own advantage.And this is dividing your South African family.At age 18 you are now entering an environment of adulthood, where you're allowed to make your own decisions, to vote, to have a drivers license, to get married, to enjoy the liberties that Freedom bring.


To call your diverse family to order, to make us realise that the birth of our democracy on 27 April 1994 was forever meant to bring us together and  unite us as South Africans. We need to keep the faith and the vision that every contribution that we make is a brick in the wall of what we are trying to build in South Africa.
We have too much to lose if we give up. You need to take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.

No more blaming others for things that come your way. Tackle the many challenges that you will encounter on your journey. 
Respect everyone you encounter on your journey.And most of all Democracy, remember that South Africans will always stand by you.

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