by Wendy Khumalo
The 8th of May 2019 is an incredibly important day on the South African calendar. On this auspicious day South Africans would have the right to cast their vote freely for whoever they deem fit to govern the country for the next 5years. 2019 marks 25 years in our very young democracy, for most South Africans it is a big deal.
So I, Wendy Khumalo got out and about during voting and asked the young and the old what it meant to vote and what this 25 years of democracy meant for the layman on the street. To my surprise, people were not as open to getting interviewed as I had hoped, nonetheless there were those brave and outspoken individuals who knew what it means being free and what freedom of speech entails.
This all happened after I had cast my vote. I felt a sense of urgency to find out why people were voting as there has been a huge hype especially amongst the millennial and born frees. Some of them would be voting for the first time, this experience took me back when I voted for the first time. It was such a liberating experience, I felt I had a voice and made a contribution to the South African political landscape.
My partner (Phindile Madlala) and I were on a fact finding mission, first stop was in Albert Park where I grew up and also cast my first vote in 2004. Videos made rounds on social media regarding students as Albert Park has become synonymous with a student village. I anticipated a jubilant mood that I had experienced just before I exercised my democratic right for the first time. To my surprise, there were no jubilant students nor struggle songs being sung. We then proceeded to Addington Primary where I got willing interviewees who were willing to give me food for thought, although they did not want to share their identity, interview below.
Q and A
Millennial and Class of 76
Class of 76
Q: Why are you voting?
A: I’m voting because it’s my right, and besides if I don’t vote then I don’t have a right to complain
Q: What does 25 years of democracy mean to you?
A: Oh it means so much, especially good things as I grew up in the times of apartheid. 25 years of democracy, mean FREEDOM of being able to go to any beach you want to go to and our children to attend former Model C schools. Our government has done a lot, I’m from the rural areas and we now have infrastructure, schools, electricity and also RDP houses. I’m really happy and excited about the future.
One thing for sure I do not want to go back to white domination!
Q: Did you register to vote?
A: No I didn’t, I decided late who I wanted to vote for and by the time I had decided it was too late for me to register. My blood was ANC but ANC was not delivering on its promises so I then decided to vote for EFF and had also attended the EFF MANIFESTO.
Q: Which party were you going to vote for and why?
A: I was going to vote for EFF, but I also thought if I come to the polling station they would allow me to cast my vote. That wasn’t the case, a lot of us were turned away due to the fact that we didn’t register to vote.
Q: Whose fault is that, was it not your responsibility as a South African citizen to register.
A: It’s partly my fault but also the organization’s fault as they didn’t ask us or remind us we had to be registered in order to cast our votes. Also we packed stadiums to capacity but only a fraction of those people were registered to vote. I am disappointed not only in myself but also in the fact that I will not be exercising my right as a citizen to vote.
Q: With South Africa commemorating 25 years of democracy, what does this mean to you?
A: 25 years of democracy means FREEDOM to belong to any party you chose. Freedom to go anywhere you want, Free Education and it also means ECONOMIC FREEDOM & LAND REDISTRIBUTION.
Q: What lesson have you learnt for not registering to vote?
A: I’ve learnt one of the hardest lessons, that if you don’t register to vote you rely on other people to make decisions for you and be happy with whatever decision they make. Thank you so much for your time.
Previous posts by Wendy Khumalo: