FIRST-TIME VOTER JITTERS

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Uhuru Noun Swahili. Meaning: freedom, independence

 

It’s Saturday, the 26th of January 2019. A seemingly ordinary day, and I’ve set my alarm two hours earlier than it is usually set. I take 15 minutes longer than usual to get out of bed. I’m anxious. Today marks the first time I register to vote !
The first time a democratic election took place in South Africa, I was probably a vague idea in my father’s head and the other 4 times, I was simply too young to vote. My relatives mock me, I am uncertain if it’s because they simply do not believe in voting anymore or it’s because they don’t think their or rather my vote matters at all. I almost start feeling naive for believing. I almost start imagining my ballot paper being a drop in a rigged ocean.
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Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech delivered on 10 May 1994, speaking on behalf of democratically elected ANC-led government.

I‘m usually an opinionated person, the type to debate and defend whatever it is I believe in to the point where I’m out of breath, but I can’t seem to find the words to defend my eagerness to go and register to vote. I can’t seem to find the words to defend my supposed “naivety” I mean I can’t blame them [my relatives ] for not trusting the system.

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Page 1 of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s 355-page report titled “State of Capture

 

I wish someone could tell the politicians that ordinary folk can see through the propaganda. By propaganda I mean, certain political parties showing up in certain communities only during election season. By propaganda I mean certain political parties hosting frequent events to interact with the community only during election season.  Yup, we see you kissing babies and exposing each other’s skeletons.. That’s right we see the propaganda !

The are so many obvious antics reserved for election season, and my primary concern is that political awareness and political involvement among the youth is only encouraged during voting season.

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An excerpt from a newspaper article written about the youth uprising in ’76

 

I wish I learnt about the works of Thomas Sankara,  Kwame Nkrumah, Chris Hani just to name a few while I was still in high school.  I wish the class of 2013 read ‘Black man you are on your own’ or ‘I write what I like’ instead of Animal Farm. I wish the youth of South Africa was conscientized to the history of our country and extensively taught about democracy and politics long before they reached middle school.

In that way when the important task of voting comes  the youth will be politically literate enough to understand that we vote for political parties into parliament based on their ideology and not family recommendations and the youth will be politically literate enough to understand that we identify REAL revolutionaries through their actions.

I started understanding political systems in my first year of varsity after choosing a politics and public policy module. It is through this module that I started understanding the different ideologies which are ruling around the world  and it is through this module that I learnt that policies are usually passed using the winning parties’ Manifesto,  but just because a party said that they will deliver on certain promise during election season doesn’t mean they will keep their promise when they step into office or rather parliament.

This election season I have taken the conscious decision to familiarize myself with political parties’ different constitutions and manifestos. I mean the answer has to exist somewhere right ?! but it’s still a huge responsibility to vote in a democratic country because when you vote, you give power away to a certain party/faction and hope that they will do right by you and your neighbor.

If  you have access to the manifestos/constitutions of any other political parties than those mentioned above, please share them in the comment section.
ALUTA CONTINUA.

 

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