When Voting is no Longer a Choice…
27th April 1994 was a significant period for South Africa and the world. Democracy was first witnessed and experienced in this country. Cries of joy and jubilation could be heard from all corners of the globe as Black South Africans prepared to cast their vote for the first time. I remember that day so vividly, even though I was not eligible to vote at that time. I remember how my folks were so jubilant and how they reassured me that everything will be different. They spoke about how best our country is going to be. They spoke about so many things that I instantly became envious that I’m not going to be part of history making…but nonetheless I felt so proud. I felt it within me…the smell of Freedom. Even though it really didn’t mean much to me at that time, but I knew that we were going to be Free at last.
I remembered Dr King’s words back in 1963, Washington DC right there, where he delivered one of the most powerful speeches of these Millennia. He spoke about a dream where little children will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I remembered as well a poster on my bedroom door, Dr Mandela’s treason trial speech…where said he has fought against white denomination and against black denomination, that he cherished the ideal of a free and democratic South Africa. I remember those powerful words by people who really changed the course of history. And I feel so proud that their legacy was well documented and still lives on. I also remember 10th May 1994 when the first ever Black President of the Republic of South Africa was inaugurated at the Union Building in Pretoria. Those moments were the real turning points of our lives.
A few years down the line, I waited with abated breath for the next coming elections, it could have been the 3rd time I cast my vote, but it was not to be. And as I so patiently waited to cast that important vote, the question in my head was “which party are you voting for?” This question was because I felt like the legacy of 1994 has died somehow. I truly felt betrayed by the same people who brought hope into my life.
Today I sit in awe and wonder what tomorrow will bring. The sons and daughters of this soil are lost in oblivion about the same legacy that gave hope to our black communities. Today we are fighting a different battle, our war songs and freedom cries are not the same. What has happened, I ask myself? We no longer share the same words spoken by our leaders back in time. We do not rejoice in freedom like we did in ’94. We don’t even remember our heroes of the struggle. Our history has been lost in the battle fields of greed and hunger for power. Our leaders don’t remember the site of the millions of people who stood to witness the release of the greatest statesman. Our leaders have forgotten about the cries of mothers, who marched for the abomination of pass laws…to date, we still have fewer women who are empowered. Our leaders have forgotten about us.
What do we tell our children? What do we say to them? Most are the born frees as they are affectionately known, and most will live on not knowing what it meant to vote in ’94 as opposed to now. Most will even live on not knowing who their real heroes are. Most of them are even willing to just exist and care less about what happens in the world.
April 2014 is another turning point in our history as the multitudes of our people will be casting their vote…if they will eventually make it to the polling stations. The irony is, the very same degree of excitement does not match that of the previous voting seasons. We have been sold fairytales and our credo as a people stolen from us like stealing candy from a baby. Our politics have become a series of lies and deceit but worse of all it has become a mockery and a minefield of crooked individuals howling and fighting for share of the loot which has obviously been placed out for the taking. Corruption has elevated to the heights and lengths where no eagle has never trod, and where no man has ever dared to live. The story of our freedom and a better life still continues up to this day, 20 years on…I wonder what kind of freedom are we really talking about. Many a political parties have been registered with the Electoral Commission (IEC) for the upcoming elections.
The story of who to vote for continues as many loyalists of the current ruling party (the ANC) including the very same cadres who brought us to the “promised land” have turned “right wing”, while some through the bargaining deals that went sour have opposed the very same principles they have lived by their entire lives…while others still pledge their allegiance to the party that not only fought for political freedom, but also fought against social inequalities.
Our political circus still remain but a circus, and come voting day…the day of beckoning, we will then only know whose cake tasted the better, be it EFF, AgangSA, DA, ANC, COPE, etc…only those brave enough to face up with their demons will tell. I know it is no longer a choice but then we need to remember that the biggest evil that anyone can do is not to cast that vote. It does not matter whose cake tastes better or whose Armani suit looks nicer, it is all about choosing the people that will deliver the Promised Land to you. You are at the end of the day responsible for every decision made in this lovely country.
I urge all South Africans to exercise their democratic right to choose who they want to lead them and show them the way…the way to the Promised Land. Go out there and VOTE
Remember that Voting is not a popular decision but the right one…
By: LG Moabelo
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