Seeing how it is nearly half way through the year, I figured it would be appropriate. There are some changes and I will explain as I go along…
Why I won’t be voting
It’s that time again. Time for mudslinging and one of the biggest soap operas to grace South Africa – the national elections. You can’t turn on the radio, television or check the news without being inundated with stories surrounding the 7th of May 2014. It’s understandable: we have been a democracy for 20 years and the first ‘Born Frees’ – those born after 1994 are eligible to vote.
There has also been an increasing amount of criticism of the ruling party. All of it has been justified as well. From a president who illegally spent millions upgrading his home to constant allegations of corruption and poor service delivery, the ANC has failed the majority of the population enormously.
With this in mind, everyone is being encouraged to vote and ‘be heard’. Not voting is seen as not being a patriotic South African. If you don’t vote, you are not allowed to criticize the current government for the next five years either. Or that’s what a lot of people believe. Trust me, I know. I’ve been on the receiving end of this criticism.
Thing is, I am not going to vote. I will however, criticize the current government as much as I like. Simply standing in a queue once every five years does not make you more of an active citizen than me. I am the type of person who makes change happen, consistently. If I am concerned about the literacy rate I will spend an afternoon a week helping disadvantaged students learn. I’m fortunate in the sense that my job allows me to work my schedule around such priorities. Yes – it is something I prioritize. Concerned about the environment? Join an NGO and help out. Rather than doing your ’60 minutes for Mandela Day’ once a year and thinking that, in conjunction with standing in the queue every few years, is enough this is what I choose.
There are millions of foreign nationals who do a lot more for this country than many of the people who will be in line with you. It does not make their contribution any less important. Instead, given that they have left home and come here to make a difference, they should be applauded.
Don’t criticize me for not voting as I don’t criticize your lack of activism. I’m not voting because, well it is none of your business and you should respect that. Finally, before you criticize my ‘stupidity and ignorance’ – I am educated and am extremely liberal. I’m anything but thick and much like a lot of other decisions, this one is well thought out.