Celebrate democracy with some tripe curry

2014-05-08 00:00

OLIVE and Ken Smith dealt with necklace killings and faction fights before the 1994 elections, and braced for the worst.

Yesterday — 20 years later — they were ushered to the front of the queue as pensioners in a peaceful election, within a democracy that survived.

Olive, a former court official, and Ken, an ex-policeman, celebrated the diversity of KZN’s democracy by cooking a tripe curry on the eve of its fifth election.

For the couple, the dish symbolises the multi-cultural society they entered as equals after April 27, 1994.

“It was an exciting time. Everyone was praying. Both Ken and I voted for change. We wanted peace. We wanted South Africa to move on,” said Olive.

The couple, now retired, had spent most of their working life in the civil service. Both worked in Port Shepstone.

“I remember the heightened sense of insecurity prior to 1994,” says Olive.

“At the courts we were dealing with a high number of faction fighting incidents. It was so sad. Friends were killing friends over political ideology.”

Ken, recalls wearing a heavy bulletproof vest daily — something once uncommon in the rural sleepy hollow of the South Coast.

“We attended scenes where people had been shot or necklaced. Almost all the violence took place on the hinterland of the town, in the rural areas. Only the marches took place in the town centre and they were largely peaceful,” said Ken.

Now retired and living on the Berea, both remember election day in 1994 as peaceful and quiet — with long queues.

Standing in the queue, 20 years on, the warm sun beating down, an IEC official came forward and ushered them to the front — they were pensioners and could jump the queue.

“There has been a lot of progress but much still needs to be done. Corruption will destroy this country if we allow it to continue. We were the Rainbow Nation — while this was an unrealistic expectation we have gone the other way. We want corruption to end and for the rule of law to be enforced,” said Olive.

• jonathan.erasmus


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