Today, Wednesday 7 May 2014, South Africa went to the polls for the 5th time in its 20 year old democracy, so when the alarm went off at 5am, I did not hit the snooze button as I might have if it were a normal working day. I wasn’t event tempted to. The minute I opened my eyes, I remembered that today was my opportunity to exercise my democratic right to vote for the party of my choice. I remembered that it is my moral obligation to ensure that the balance of power in my country does not topple – to the right or the left, and out of respect for those that gave their lives for that freedom and privilege, I got out of bed to go and make my mark.
South Africa has a lot of problems. We have frightfully high levels of unemployment and poverty; we have serious issues of corruption; we have crime – terrible, violent, senseless crime. There is much to be done to fix the state that we are in and I don’t really know how we’re going to do that or how long it is going to take.
What I do know is that we have a powerful Constitution.
As a woman I have equal rights, I am independent and free to vote. I can drive a car, go out without a male escort, further my education – unlike some countries where women are horribly oppressed.
As a Christian, I am free to worship my God – unlike some countries where people are persecuted for their beliefs.
My gay and lesbian friends can be open about their sexuality – unlike some countries where they would be criminalised.
I am free to associate with whom I please.
I am proudly South African.
When I got home, I realised that because the voting page was full, the IEC official had put the stamp on the firearms licence page of my ID book – I guess a vote is sort of like a weapon :)