7 May 2014
Today is the 5th Democratic election in the Republic of South Africa. We surely have come a long way. Apartheid was a cage for the oppressed and also for the oppressor. As I walk the streets most days taking for granted the beautiful integration of people in this Rainbow Nation I don’t feel bad that I hardly notice it anymore. No longer is there guilt or unforgiveness, neither should there be. Tata Madiba and so many likeminded people at home and abroad fought against the injustice of treating any person lesser than, because of something as silly as skin colour and the gross perceived threat that indicated. Walking into the polling station today, a registered voter now, I remember back to when I was standing in line at my mothers side, only as tall as her hip but being with her at such a monumental time in the history of our country, her explaining to me what it all meant. I didn’t quite get it then but I do now as we’re in our twentieth year free from Apartheid.
I am a brown skinned girl standing in line, getting to vote for myself. Most discussions with fellow voters only hinting at politics as to not ruffle any feathers. Though some friendly debates on the merits or faults of supporting either of the two biggest parties being the African National Congress or Democratic Alliance. As we move in the line through one of the local highschools finally at the front. It’s my turn. Pulling out my greenbarcoded ID booklet, having it stamped, my left thumbnail marked with ink, receiving my ballot papers, making my mark, depositing my choice into the ballot box. Exercising freedom for myself and all those who fought and dreamed of it, unable to. I voted. We have come along way, and are just entering into adulthood as a country.
Today was a great day. And we have greater days ahead in this beautiful land of ours. So I keep praying Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika (God bless Africa).
by Karin Van Wyk of Cape Town, South Africa. During the 2009-2010 YAGM-SA program year, Karin worked with YAGM Stephanie Anderson (now Berkas) at Africa Jam Youth Outreach.