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Right now, in the eyes of the world, South Africa is a joke. We are a laughing stock, not because we killed Apartheid in the most peaceful possible way. Not because we have one of the most advanced constitutions in the world. Not because we have one of the most culturally rich and diverse nations in the world. We are not ridiculed because we invented some of the most useful systems and machines still used worldwide today. Also not because the first heart transplant happened here. We are not mocked because we fare increasingly well in the international sports arena, or because we successfully hosted a World Cup. We are not scoffed at because we provide the world with some of the best painters, dancers, and singers to ever walk the earth. Also not because we birthed and raised Charlize Theron, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. We are not derided for being one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with the Big 5 and Table Mountain to seduce the European swallows into migrating here annually. Also not because we have outstanding design and fashion. And the list goes on.
The world is laughing at us because for the last 5 years, and for who knows how much longer, we have been allowing a dictator to destroy every last ounce of integrity which Mandela’s ANC fought for. They ridicule us because we are allowing the poor to remain poor, the uneducated to remain uneducated, the sick to remain sick. One man is single-handedly dismantling our constitution and bleeding the coffers dry. One man, the leader of the most famous Democratically elected (Rainbow) Nation in the world, is proving that freedom and basic human rights can be revoked at the drop of a hat. This year we celebrate our 20th birthday. And this year, the greatest birthday gift we could give ourselves is to vote for change.
We are not a laughing stock. We are a people who defeated one of the most evil and oppressive systems in the world, by speaking up and making a noise, and ultimately voting for change. We must remember the power that lies in our hands. The power that lies in the hand of every individual who picks up a pen to mark an X. You don’t have to vote for the crazy Aunty from Table Bay, or the loudmouth with the Red Beret. You don’t have to vote for the “A” Gang or even Cope with new formed coalitions with conditions. Just vote against the cANCer. Vote for something new, and let’s restore the power and dignity to the people.
Most importantly we need to spread the message to those who do not have the Internet, or Facebook. Those who do not have newspapers or cannot read. Many only have access to the SABC – a giant pro-ANC propaganda machine. Let’s help those who need the change the most to look past the blankets and food parcels towards something which is much longer lasting – a new hope. Let’s help each other look past the political mudslinging and name-calling and examine our options with clear minds.
Just because the world is laughing at us, doesn’t mean we should laugh with them. From this moment on I will no longer laugh at Jacob Zuma. He is not funny. He is not a clown, as depicted by the picture I recently posted on Twitter. He is a fraud. A criminal. A dangerous dictator in the making. We cannot laugh at that. Each time we laugh at Zuma we laugh at the millions of people who are suffering under his regime.
So let’s talk. Let’s share ideas. Let’s make a difference. Who knows who to vote for at the polling stations. But we all know who NOT to vote for this time. Instead, perhaps I’ll finally vote for the Dagga Party and hope that everything will be irie? And that’s not a joke!