Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Go vote and think for yourself

Its not simply our national duty to go and vote, or even an attempt to stop the magical 'two-thirds majority'; its in a significant way taking responsibility for our future. The question is not whether voting for a smaller party is significant; the question is why we vote for this or that party.

I am going to vote. In fact I am exited to go out and join my fellow-South Africans in queues, For me, this is not insignificant. Its an experience that our people struggled and died for, but also, its an experience that signifies my dignity as a South African. Whilst there might be others who laughs dismissively at the thought of a dignified South Africa, because of various reasons, I am however still proud of what we have achieved and are to achieve, as a nation. I might be aware of the failures of some of our nation's leaders, of the flaws inherent in our electoral system, and yes, I might not be ecstatic about the options. There might still be the dark cloud of, in the words of Mondli Makhanya, that 'darn arms deal': 'the deal that poisoned our souls and turned our heroes into grubby mortals' (in X Mangcu). Yet, I look around me at work and passionately shout and scream for our national teams on the pitch, see how my children embrace the 'new South Africa' with their friends and school-mates and I feel proud. I am proud when media institutions, courts of law, artists may continue to critique and even ridicule party leaders, in an open democracy. When we go out to vote, broadly speaking without fear of violence. I am proud when traveling all over the world, and meet up with other proudly South Africans.

Does this mean that I accept the decay in public accountability, the growing inequalities between the stinking rich and the poor masses, or the newer forms of sophisticated racism and xenophobia that still simmer, under the surface of the 'new South Africa'. Of course not ! Whilst I do speak out and will continue to speak my mind, I also vote. I have the power to register for myself and the world that even though 99,999% might be enchanted simply by the singing and dancing, the paintbrushed photos, the polished images or even the language and choreographed drama re-enacting former liberation movements, me, that 0,00001% will maintain my dignity, my proudly South African dignity, to uphold my constitutional right to think for myself.
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