There couldn’t be a more electric time to be in this country than right now, today. It is, pretty much, the best place to be. In the whole wide world. And I seriousy feel like that. You see, it’s Election Day. And I absolutely love Elections. Even more than chocolate biscuits.
I’m of the fortunate generation in this country who are ‘post-apartheid’. Yes, I was here for it, and was surprisingly aware of it, considering my age at the time, but I turned 15 in 1990, the year they released Mandela and unbanned the ANC (on my 15th birthday, actually – how auspicious), and was able to vote in the first democratic elections of this country (1994). Along with hundreds of thousands of other South Africans, it was the first time I voted too. Auspicious indeed, and I felt (and still do) incredibly privileged to have been able to do so. Standing in that queue for hours, snaking down our small university town street to the Great Hall was electrifying. And getting the ballot paper with Nelson Mandela’s name and picture on it… Inexplicable.
And, yes, these elections are the most important since. I guess that’s the nature of elections – each one has a glimmer of hope – that we have the power to change what hasn’t being going right, to show the politicians where they stand, to vote out the corrupt and vote in the less-corrupt. I’m under no illusion when it comes to politicians.
The rosy glow of Mandela’s term has faded. His legacy lives still, though, a warm heartbeat from deep within this country’s soul, despite him not being with us anymore. There have been scandals, our current president has done things that defy description in their horrendousness, but we hope this’ll be a wake-up call (again, I’m under no illusion as to what the results will be, from today’s election). If we don’t put our faith in that, we may as well pack up and leave.
Essentially though, this country is ours. We have the ability to vote in a decent opposition. We have the power to change things ourselves. We need to stop sitting back and blaming the ‘powers that be’. Oh, there are so many tangents I could go off on here but I must put on some sun cream and amble down to vote.
I just needed to get it out there that, right now, in this amazing country, I couldn’t be prouder, or more excited to go and make my X. My tummy is positively burbling with glee.