By Lindiwe Dhlamini
Photos by Thembela Dick
2019 is starting on a happy note for many residents of Cato Crest, Mbumbulu, Mayville and other neighbouring townships in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) because their wish to see President Cyril Ramaphosa in person was granted. This was confirmed by most of the people I spoke to while doing vox pops outside of the packed tent where the president was due to address the crowd on January 9.
Documenting the event was part of the photography training taking place in Durban under Mobile School of Photography aka Photo XP. Myself, Terra Dick, Lebo Mashifane and Lerato Dumse drove to Cato Crest sports grounds where the community and members of the African National Congress (ANC) were gathering to hear the president speak during the ANCYL KwaZulu-Natal Peter Mokaba 60th Anniversary Youth Rally.
The gathering featured in the weeklong program celebrating the ANC’s 107th birthday and Manifesto launch. Various community events were organised around KZN and one of the graduates from the Photo XP Bongekile Dlamini shared event posters on our WhatsApp group.
Some of the senior graduates from Photo XP were in attendance to continue taking pictures following the land theme as per the training conducted in commemoration of the 25 years of democracy in South Africa. Upon arrival all we could see was yellow t-shirts made out of low quality material, while some of the prominent members of the ANC and those who could afford were wearing black or white t-shirts with a different design from that being distributed to the masses. One of the person’s interviewed told us the other t-shirts cost R450 or so and looking at the area in which the event was happening and the comments from almost 90% of interviewed people who stated that they are unemployed, the price was quiet shocking.
It was difficult to get comments from the women who either blatantly refused to comment or just plain walked away, there were a few who were willing to chat. Most of the attendees are die-hard fans of the ANC whilst others were members of the public who came hoping to hear what the president would be promising them before they cast their vote in the upcoming elections. The 2019 elections mark the 6th democratic elections and this year we are commemorating 25 years since the initial elections in 1994. The ANC has been in power since 1994 recently there has been mixed emotions on social media with many young people expressing their dismay at the ruling party’s slow/lack of service delivery.
The most disturbing part being in attendance at this event was seeing and speaking to many young people who had no plans/hope for a better future, yet they were resolute in voting for the ANC. Some of the comments about why people were not at work or school were that, “I do not work/I am not studying” while some of them were hoping for an increase in the child grant. A 24-year-old Khosi Cele stated that she is not in school or work because she is relaxing in life, which was quiet shocking thinking of the rate at which young people are seeking to better their lives. Of all the young people I spoke to only two were studying and one was an ANC member who seemed very well monied with expensive shoes, watch and with a refined English language using all the jargon to answer questions I asked in IsiZulu. The same seemed to be the order for most of the prominent BEE looking ANC men who were mostly defensive and arrogant in their responses when mentioning the land issue, Marikana or corruption in the ruling party.
One thing admirable about all the people I spoke to was that they are loyal in their love for the ANC and nothing or no one can change that even their own poverty, landlessness and lack of study or employment opportunities. An old man I spoke to was saying that he will still be voting the ANC despite growing up in a shack and still living in one. In all, the event was a celebration of seeing the president in person for many, even the dirty truck sent to deliver water did not bother the masses, all they wanted was to see Ramaphosa in person.