I attended an event yesterday that was celebratory in nature. It was celebrating 300 young South Africans, hosted by Mail&Guardian.
It started off well enough until the keynote speaker stood up to talk.
Prince Mashele stood up and looked relatively unassuming. Little did we know we were in for a shock. His talk was well timed, well delivered and was perfectly placed for the right target market sitting in front of him.
This was his overbearing message:
Where were you and what did you do when South Africa began to degenerate?
So I ask you this question: Where were you and what did you do when South Africa began to degenerate?
I know where I am and what I’m doing. How about you?
Before I continue with this blog, let me add a ‘disclaimer’: I am in no way affiliated with the Democratic Alliance or the ANC and there are aspects of both parties which I like and dislike…
Whilst Helen Zille has certainly not been exempt from hurling the odd insult at the ANC, I was extremely disturbed yesterday to hear ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema refer to Helen Zille as a ‘racist little girl’. Whenever any South African reverts to the tired ‘racist’, ‘colonialist’, and/or ‘imperialist’ tags I feel overwhelmingly irritated as, nine times out of ten, it is a cheap trump card which has no truth in it whatsoever. It is also slightly amusing to hear the terms ‘colonialist and ‘imperialist’ in particular still being bandied about this country when Colonialism normally refers to ‘a period of history from the 15th to the 20th century when people from Europe built colonies on other continents’.
Had Malema perhaps done a little research into Zille’s past, he might have found out that she was a prominent anti-Apartheid activist and that, while working for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970′s, she famously uncovered the truth behind the Steve Biko murder, risking her own life in the process. Zille was also a leading member of Black Sash, a white anti-Apartheid and pro women’s rights movement.
I love South Africa and am proud to be South African. I am however tired of the political mud-slinging (which does not exclude the DA and Helen Zille) that seems to be an intrinsic part of our society and I would like to ask all of our leaders to please put aside the filth.
I challenge and encourage South African politicians to engage more in open debate where proverbial points are scored through intellectual prowess and not cheap slander.
Pieter-Dirk Uys has never been shy of controversy and neither has Zapiro for that matter. But when our soon to be next president, Zuma, decides it’s high time to sue a satirist for being, well, satirical, then we have a bit of an issue.
This is an extremely tricky and sensitive debate to have. I think that there are many heated opinions held by people who still feel strongly about their country of birth (South Africa). This feeling clearly leads them to feel some ownership of SA and the countries ruling party.
But I am not so sure.
I firmly believe that South Africans living abroad temporarily on short term (1-4 year) Visa’s – or whatever the time period is, should be allowed to vote. I firmly disagree with expats who have formally left the country indefinitely who want to vote. If you choose to leave a country and have no intention of contributing to the economy, the social upliftment, the every running of the nation then you unfortunately waver the right to vote.
Come back if you want to vote that badly. But don’t leave and then claim to still love the nation and want to make a difference. If you are on a gap year, if you are on a working visa, if you are on an extended holiday then by all means vote, in fact I think the government owes it to citizens who intend on returning to provide a platform (at SA embassies the world over) for these people to vote.
As far as I am aware there are ± 143 political parties which would make the next elections the biggest since 1994. There is something in the air this year, there is change in the people, the masses are taking back the ownership of their days. It started with Obama and hopefully wont end any time soon. Hopefully that dog, Mugabe will be the next to be ousted.
Today I went to my nearest IEC registration station and changed my registration details from Grahamstown to Johannesburg.
The process was simple, the queues were managed well, the forms were readily available, everything worked perfectly.
I was chatting to someone yesterday who made a really valid point, this is the first time (out of the three) that I have gone to register and have had people actually talking about politics, registration and voting, alot. It’s great to hear, great to see and fantastic to know that politics is no longer one of the things you never bring up at a dinner party.
Here’s some very cool images of where you can go to vote according in the Cape area. Unfortunately they are somewhat illegible but might help as an absolute last resort. I think that the yellow numbered squares are what you want to look for on the maps.
I have to keep pushing this and there is something very cool coming out on Monday in the SA Rocks stable that s along these lines. So do me a favour, do your country and fellow citizens a favour and do your democracy a damn favour and register to vote. Vote vote vote vote vote vote.
There is no name to this party yet. The SANC was shot down, the SADC (pretty rubbish name anyways) was also rejected as SADeC as well as SADC both already exist. But nevertheless over 6000 people attended the Shikota conference on 1 & 2 November in the Sandton Convention Centre.
There was a lot of coverage of the event from various organisations writing stories, producing content and spreading the news.
Here are some videos from Zoopy:
Crowds at the conference:
Shilowa concluding the conference:
I have been following the worlds politics with great intent this year, so much so that my friends and family scarcely bring it up anymore for fear of getting me started. I don’t care to be honest, these are important and exciting times and politics can longer be regarded as a no-no in discussion. It needs to be debated, fought over and painstakingly analyzed. If you don’t agree then best you start doing some research and studying on the topic because it’s about time you started learning.
My thoughts are very simple in regard to Shilowa, Lekota and the SANC/ SADC.
Firstly I am pretty sad that the ANC contested the party name “SANC” as I think this name would’ve been a simple transition for voters at the polls next year. I think that the “South” part of the ANC would’ve made the party more localised, centralised and relatable to the South African voters. However it was not to be.
I am not fond of this name and in fact, I am very, very glad that it has been ruled out. Why can’t they just go with something simple, relevant and easy to support? I have no thoughts in this regard particularly but I would love to know if you have any great ideas on what the party should be called.
Is still in play here. Is still the key issue in SA at the moment. Whether the media wants us to know this or not is irrelevant because the truth of the matter is that the SANC/SADC/DA/ANC/ID or any other party are relatively irrelevant because democracy is the most import thing, not a party.
The establishment of new party is not a particularly important matter of course in the greater scheme of politics for the next elections. What the establishment of this party has done is illustrate to South Africans that our democracy is still in a working order. We are still able to have parties break up, split, fracture and rebuild. The individual human in this country is still able to make a stand – just as Lekota and his allies did.
We need to be wary, cautious and sure of our intentions at this very delicate time in South Africa’s present and future. We need to be sure that we aren’t voting for a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Shikota), that our greatest “enemy” as the DA might put it could be the best enemy we have (Zuma) because we know his short comings and faults and we need to vote. We need to activate the effectiveness of a democracy and vote.
My recent DA blog post sparked some very interesting, strange and debatable points. The one that intrigues me the most right now (and probably for the next 6 months) is voter education. Below is a comment I published as a response to someone asking me to “convince them to vote”. Firstly I am really shocked and surprised that I need to convince anyone to vote, but this is my response however rushed and off the top of my head:
Basically, you can tell me that the parties are all failures, all liars, all cheats, bigots or whatever you think but at the end of the day they aren’t all like that. They do some very promising work and actually do (alot of the time) try to better the public. You can moan and tell me that your area has had a pothole for two weeks, yes but so have many others.
The reason that you should vote is very simple: Democracy is based on a voting system. If you do not vote then you are allowing a party in to government that actually isn’t representative of the people, but rather a small faction of the people. Our democracy would be in a much better working order – especially with a proportional representation system – if more people voted, votes were fought for and people held their governments and political parties to task with their vote. But right now the parties know that all they need is roughly 8million votes to win an election. It’s apathetic voters that allow parties and politicians to get away with murder.
Imagine if the ANC completely lost the next elections because the people weren’t happy with their outcomes. That would send a message to every party out there that South Africans want results. But in fact, the message we send is: “Ah, you know, you screwed up but I don’t really care enough to tell you with my vote and help educate others to vote so you can take power again and carry on in the same way.”
Voting matters. You can deny it until you die but the fact is that voting matters.