Initiating the next generation of voters

2011-05-21 09:04

Just a few seconds short of two hours and it was all over on Wednesday morning.

I had cast my vote for my ward councillor and the party I thought should be in charge of managing the City of Johannesburg.

For the next five years, my councillor must ensure that I get quality service – potholes filled and refuse ­collected on time, clean running ­water and uninterrupted electricity supply.

The party I voted for must ensure that the ­budget is spent to improve the lives of all ­Johannesburg residents – not only the few in the suburbs. It must also clamp down on corruption and fix the billing crisis.

My three boys were there and ­witnessed it all – and even got the ink on their small thumbs to prove it.

It was interesting to notice how many voters had brought their ­children to the queues on the ­freezing Highveld morning.

During the 2009 elections it was so cold that I left my sons at home despite their pleas to come with me.

However, as I was walking out of the house at 6.50am on Wednesday to cast my vote, my eight-year-old son asked where I was heading since it was a holiday.

I told him I was going to vote and asked whether he would like to come with me. “Yes, I would love to,” he replied.

“But Siya and Wandile are all up already. Can they come too?”

All four of us jumped into the car, minus their mother, who deserved to sleep a bit more. She would cast her vote later in the day.

Feeling the morning breeze, I parked at the filling station opposite Strubensvalley library, western ­Johannesburg, and asked the petrol attendant to look after my boys while I queued.

I couldn’t help but notice that most parents had brought their children. Mothers of infants were ­allowed to pass to the front of the queues.

After about an hour in the line, I checked on the boys and they had each devoured a boerewors roll as breakfast instead of the usual cereal. It turned into quite a festive day for us before I headed to work.

After their unusual early-morning snack, the boys queued with me and made new friends.

It was smooth sailing, and when we walked into the voting station, the boys asked the kind electoral ­officials to put ink on their thumbs – after I got the ink – to prove that they indeed “voted”. They couldn’t wait to show their mother.

Yes, standing there was worth every second.

I hope my boys will remember this day and the importance of choosing one’s leaders. Hopefully, they will always cast their vote in ­future elections.

They are too young to remember the struggle for ­freedom, but I want them to know the value of freedom.

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