Couple’s ongoing faith in voting

2019-05-09 06:00
Nomkhitha (72) and Fumbatha Majikijela (86) from Nomzamo fondly remember the day they cast their votes in South Africa’s first democratic elections 25 years ago.PHOTO: Mzwanele Mkalipi

Nomkhitha (72) and Fumbatha Majikijela (86) from Nomzamo fondly remember the day they cast their votes in South Africa’s first democratic elections 25 years ago.PHOTO: Mzwanele Mkalipi

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An elderly couple, while appreciating the fruits of democracy, are calling for more to be done in South Africa.

The Nomzamo residents were among the first to cast their votes through special votes at their Ntanga Street home on Monday 6 May.

Fumbatha (86) and Nomkhitha Majikijela (72) believe the newly elected government should, among other things, consider reinstating corporal punishment at schools as children are “getting out of hand.”

They also shared their hopes for increased police visibility in the streets as a crime deterrent, improved health-care services and a better response by ambulance services.

The pair were proud to make their first mark in South Africa’s first free democratic elections in 1994, and both have voted in each municipal, provincial and national election since that historic event.

Nomkhitha is wheelchair-bound and cared for by Fumbatha, who is still very active and takes care of most of the household chores. The couple has 10 children.

“It was a mistake when corporal punishment was banned at schools,” she said. “Today’s children don’t listen and need to be disciplined. We are humans; mistakes are made, but can also be rectified.”

Owing to rampant crime in their area, the pensioner finds it tough going to a nearby shop without worrying about his wife’s safety at home. “It’s unbelievable how much crime is committed daily,” he said. “Just yesterday, we woke to someone trying to gain entry to our home through a window. He managed to succeed, had a knife and attempted to rape my grandchild.” He added the intruder’s actions were stopped when he realised the rest of the household has awoken.

He apparently exited the house through the window and ran away before committing his evil deeds.

“I will not lie down and take everything that comes my way,” Fumbatha said. “Being allowed to vote in 1994 meant a lot to us. We benefited immensely, as we received schools and homes.

“When we arrived here in the Cape, the situation was dire in our country. Democracy and the right for all to be part of the elections brought a lot of necessary change.”

But a lot needs to be done in terms of development, for their grandchildren to be truly on equal ground with youths from other racial groups.

Nomkhitha concurred that voting brought about positive change in the country, as she recalled her experience of living in Paarl on arriving in 1967.

“We would sleep in the bushes, as police arrested women and did not care whether you were pregnant or not,” she recalled. “Some women even gave birth in prison, though I was fortunate to escape this horrid fate. I was also detained several times in those days.

“We have been liberated, and therefore we must continue to vote to make our voices heard. Casting our votes for the first time in 1994, and the way our country has grown since, is testament to how important making your mark is. Going to the polls helped a great deal after decades of suffering during a time when we were forced to walk around with a dompas.”

The gogo believes that although things have changed, there’s many strides that still need to be made, especially in terms of service delivery for the elderly. Nomkhitha proposes that more health workers be employed so that home visits can be conducted for the infirm and queuing at clinics and hospitals can be eliminated for older people, and that prompt response times from police and ambulance services can become a regular feature.

But despite the many challenges South Africans face, the couple agree they will continue to vote for the betterment of the country and their lives.

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