Tag Archive | politics

Finally, I am Ready to Vote…Again

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty unsexy ways, every day.” David Foster Wallace.

I am part of a fairly large proportion of young South Africans, who did not only misunderstood (some still misunderstand) the concept behind voting but also despised the whole process completely. After digesting the words of Sir David Foster Wallace, I realised the heroine I needed to be for my descendants.

When the voter registration dates drew closer, conversations about voting enormously increased. As it was the case study of many young South Africans, the moment I heard anything synonymous with voting, I shunned my ears and hopped into Twitter where something to laugh about and forget your reality is bound.

Now that I think about it, there is nothing increasingly annoying than a corrupt official telling you about your right to vote when the only thing they are in point of fact concerned about is who you vote for, with their party having to be your first priority, of course.

I always thought to myself, what is the point of this entirely unbeneficial (bearing in mind that I’m like everyone else and I tend to sometimes forget the good moments a person brought through one mistake) process. The reality of the appalling percentage of corrupt state officials and malice in my country completely clouded my judgement and nearly deprived me of a beautiful tale I could through pen, paper and interwebs, foretell my generations.

I will not for a second lie to you, this has been an extremely too long a contemplation process, especially that 2013 has been an unfriendly son of the soil type of a year to me. Living through all kinds of villain engineered forces; from being a statistic of severe depression, undergoing the excruciating throb of unemployment, abuse and crime – to such a high degree that at some point I was left bag-less – minutes before my important presentation, where my whole life, including every legal document a citizen needs to have and two cell-phones (not contactable too) gone in a split second, being worried about being a victim of fraud, to being alive and hating South Africa and the criminals, who are in all ways my brothers and sisters. I have finally decided that I will vote.

I will, with pride and maybe a bit of sunburn or perhaps some wet clothes, on a date still yet to be announced, be shuffling forward in a queue which by the grace of politicians, will move in a speed of light, to cast my vote. For with a better understanding, I am now ready to do so.

Ready does not in any form imply that I believe for a second that there is one political party affiliated individual with ideas, vigour and prowess to overcome the atrocious state of malevolence and detestation we South Africans find ourselves in. It just simply means that I am ready to face the stones and hardships of being a proud and active citizen.

I will vote for I have realised a privilege behind marking an X near somebody whom I’m naïve enough to believe that they will bring change in a split second – that’s how we’re taught to think in this country. Either way, it does not take away from the fact that voting is a significant part of being a citizen in my country. As I know it, voting does not deliver instant change, if any change at all, but it gives the voter a new perspective, a new hope, a new drive and a new understanding.

I remember the first time I voted. It was a different experience. I had anticipated it, called my then boyfriend and he advised me on whom to vote for, not a very political opinion I must say. But I enjoyed it, the fact that I was finally a citizen whose activities were going to be counted. There was a level of excitement that I cannot put into words. All I remember is a smile in my heart that blossomed unto my face and the mounting joy when I actually did the process. It was inspiring. The mysterious X letter holds the victory of my forefathers, those who’s strength, persistence and will-power lives through the supremacy of expressing who you are and what you stand for as an individual. As I stood in the ballot box, I realised that voting ignites the love and belief one has for their country.

I will vote, as a sign of respect and salutation to my forefathers. It is my way of crafting them a gift card, acknowledging and thanking them for taking care of the land and the world which belongs to us. It is my promise that I am willing and will do everything I can to make this world a better place which as the poet once recited, belongs to our descendants. I want my generations to draw inspiration from me, the same way I’m drawing inspiration from the heroes and heroines who are my forefathers/mothers.

Through my vote I will continue the struggle, as our beloved Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela said; the long walk continues. Oh Nelson Mandela that is one man capable of a grand entrance and an outstanding departure, God bless him; may his soul rest in peace. I hope for the devious deeds of politics and politicians, we do not encounter any; ‘do it for Mandela’ type of political canvassing campaigns.

Before this whole thing starts to get boring, I would like for my compatriots, who’ve not yet registered to vote, to chew on Coretta Scott-King’s words; freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation. That is what we have not taught young people, or older ones for that matter. You do not finally win a state of freedom that is protected forever. It doesn’t work that way.

My fellow youngsters, I would like all of you to contemplate about the kind of nation you want your future generations to look back to. And always remind yourselves to take part in your own country and be proud of where you come from so that your generations will be proud that they stem from your withins. If however, you plan not to vote, bear this in mind; if you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote. By David Foster Wallace.

Advertisements

This is Not an Open Letter

This is nowhere near the recent South African epidemic of highly contagious, internet contracted bacterium outbreak of open letters.

As most individuals claim to, my immune system also has an acute incurable viral allergy against the common disease of conforming to normalcy, although blogging analysts might be compelled into proving that my immune has already succumbed to the previously prestige act of blogging.

Open letters, for the past couple of weeks have been interweb or newspaper delivered to almost all our famous celebrities, including our very preeminent leading party, the ANC and its subject of controversy president, Gedleyihlekisa Jacob Zuma.

The basis of these letters included both debasement and criticism on the addressee. These aspects were critical in evoking views and fueling an endless, otiose debate that gave substance in the insomniac’s vigil at night and occupied many of my fellow unemployed compatriots by day.

The matters discussed on these open letters intended to lay bare a vendetta more compelling than a woman to woman squabble over a man. This South African now controversial tragic yet comical thriller would soon be a trending subject for days (literally) on social platforms, with Twitter taking home the most visited site/app award.

Another individual would soon be unable to contain their views thus quickly penning them down. An open letter would follow, resulting on this pandemic bacterium of open letters that we (South Africans) came to witness.

At the moment, open letters, which seemed to sky rocket in this country, have to our relief, died down. Although one more open letter is enough to see the rise of open letters again, we hope to have overcame a pandemic which nearly decayed writing as a profession and derogated our celebrity’s image.

The last thick pile of open letters, due to the hot family rival in the Mandela household, were loitering the interweb hoping to purposefully land into this family’s computer hub. Annoyance and anger were the main subject on these letters, horrendously accusing the Mandela family of deteriorating the Madiba legacy during a critical time of the statesman and global hero.

There was some truth to all the open letters I managed to go through, with of course some terrible writing to at least one letter that I read (I should have addressed this matter with an open letter). A great proportion of these letters were expressing emotions (which was great. I take note, every now and then of my people’s feelings) and contained little if any facts at all.

If I were to write an open letter, it would be addressed to the reader, any individual who takes from their delicate time, a moment to read the words which will mainly address this statement: Mandela akekho ofana nawe futhi akasoze abakhona (Mandela there is none like you and they will NEVER be).

I hate being compared. I hate this sentence (which seems more like a phrase now). I hate being undermined and I hate it when my people, the people whose abilities are known to me, are looked down upon.

Mandela in his own right, is a man of strength, courage and will-power. This however should never imply that we (people of this nation) cannot surpass the struggles we face to date, better or with more strength than the one Mandela (together with many other struggle heroes) had towards defeating the unjust system.

South Africa has heroes, revolutionalists, go-getters, exemplary individuals, active activists who are enormously and positively impacting on global change, taking the leading role in shaping and making this country better. They have the same (if not more) degree of compassion, humane and care for this nation and its people.

These individuals should by no means be compared to anyone especially Mandela. For they are not Mandela in many aspects, noting that they are nowhere near living or exploring the life of being extensively well known, which Mandela, without directly inciting, has lived. However, they have sacrificed and rendered themselves dedicated pure selfless servants of this country.

The other aspect our recent heroes do not share with Mandela is that of being thanks-given whilst they are still alive. And as I know my people, we will apply the same formulae we used to our previously fallen heroes, and only recognise their good deeds when they are no more. Mandela is a set apart individual for he got the flowers when he could still smell them.

Before open letters, I had been engaging to life and its marveling livelihood. Dwelling into the wisdom foretold by the craftsmen who previously traveled the mystery we have known today as life. I have taken joy in cracking open the answers of the situations we battle today, hoping to transfer the understanding of my forefathers to those who will find a fore-mother in me.

I shall again continue with my journey, seeking answers of the future through the journeys of the past. Dear blog follower this trip, in a profound manner will render me a non-blogger for quite some time. Despair not for I intend to make time and go through my reader.

Technology might propel me to take pictures, a reminiscence and future adoration by my forthcoming beloved. If you ask nicely, I might share them with you.

To all the South Africans obsessed with open letters, it is with great pleasure to announce to you that this is by no means an open letter. I’m not an open letter writer nor am I anti-Mandela. I’m just a blogger who’s not going to be blogging for a while.

Much Love
DevynStella

Meet My Country: An Introductory to South Africa Through My Eyes

Welcome to my beautiful country, comprising of the tourists money snatcher; the “big five”. Don’t be surprised if you meet people of this country who’ve never seen it, we are like that, we people of this country, we are used to hearing about our own from visitors. Our own indigenous stories are told by outsiders – it is normal to us just like blinking. Notice the beautifully kept national parks – encompassing our lovely natural animals. That is our pride. Look, those are the extremely expensive buildings of Sandton and Umhlanga rocks. These buildings bring us both hope and despair. They were designed by the highest paid team of architects and brought to life by men who will never set foot on them — it is something their income can never afford. Look, admire, smile, hope to own it one day and THEN continue with your journey. Don’t think about the labour of the men who brought these majestic buildings to life, no one ever does, it is normal in this country. Our workmen go underground to yield gold that after purification, they can only admire. Sometimes they die in the process of this labour intensive act; otherwise they endure chronic illnesses for the rest of their lives. Don’t consider that, just look at the finished product, touch it and put it back to its normal position because it’s too expensive for your lifestyle. In our mind, this is the most diverse country in the entirety of Africa. In fact it is so diverse we have deemed it the “rainbow nation”. So welcome to the rainbow nation, this is your home now.

I see you’re getting really comfortable. Here is something about this rainbow nation; it is a corruption fueled state. It is the place where the poor really get poorer and the rich, well those keep on getting filthy rich. In our country most people are considered disadvantaged in many areas and they are indeed extremely disadvantaged. If you could witness the way they think and the things they say about their future, you can’t help but feel that their mind is lacking something more than just an average daily dose of vitamins. By the way they take vitamins only in sickly times, it is usually a free clinical supplement. Otherwise, their starch keeps them going.

In this country, the education system is always going through a name change with of course little to nothing being changed about the education its self. This is my country. I was shoved the same words that my parents learnt, the 25 year gap between us really meant nothing for our education system. My country’s education system channels you into working for somebody once you’ve taken your required dose of its teaching. One thing about it though, it teaches you to speak extremely fluent in a language that is not your own and that’s an achievement we ought to be proud of, apparently.

We are a joke that’s really saddening. You know why? Our people vote and expect houses after that. Grown ass men and women sit; arms fold after a cast of their vote every four years in hope that it brings them the utmost leisure’s of life. Really? Oh yes! They expect their vote to yield and bring at their door step their beloved and desired dreams. It is not their fault but rather a delusion fed into their mind by the picketers. In this country government is blamed for everything that my people are either lazy to go do or they do not know how to go about doing it. Information in this country of mine is scarce and not easily accessed; you hardly find what you need. Therefore the people of my country die. Why? They lack knowledge. No! They do not have access to knowledge.

This is my beloved country and the people who lead us have wisdom of their own. They are not only talented but they are perfectly skilled in their field of expertise ‒ politics. I have observed one thing about this country and politics, if you’re not a good schemer, an excellent fraudster, a magnificent liar and an almost perfect secret keeper, forget it chap, you will not stand the heat of this country’s political game. My country’s politic situation is true blood sweat and corruption better prepare for hard-core survival of the fittest, jaw ripping game – it’s a jungle out there; eat or be eaten!

In my country, the arts are considered to be something not worthy of the government’s not so hard earned money. The government does not care much if you’re a musician, movie maker or a writer; to him you’re a nuisance. So best you back off and nurture your craft far away from him. Well until you’re just perfect to sing for one of his luxurious homes, where he and his furniture dances. The people in the arts, they are all things manipulative and a raw authentic definition of fake. They smile in your face and stab your behind the minute you turn away ‒ my country; beautiful country, too beautiful in fact.

I love this country and have so much hope in it. There is so much skill and talent embedded in its core existence. The country’s youth is faced with drug abuse and confusion but they are so hopeful and smart in their own mischief ways. Don’t like them too much, they will have you fooled. They speak words of intelligence marinated with the desirable amount of wisdom but their action, behold! It is the total opposite of their lovely luring words. They engage in filthy things you’d swear they were the messengers of dirt. I like them though because hey do not want to be judged, not by a single soul. So I end it, no more youth talk.

This is South Africa, hope you like it. Depending on where you’re walking, you might need to leave your cell-phone and wallet as a sign of respect to that man you are about to meet for the first and hopefully the very last time. Why? Don’t ask questions, not a single one, just do it and pass with a straight face and up-right body, it will save your life. I actually do hope you’re rich; you really do want to dwell, sleep, wake, drink and eat on the northern side of Johannesburg or better yet the northern side of Durban where you can even walk on the fluffy sands by the sea side. This is where you explore South African beauty. I could go on forever. You must not forget to pay Cape Town a visit, there is class and elegance invested in that city, you will love it.

Power is not equally shared in my country ‒ don’t forget that. If you’re a woman you might just like to remember your place —the kitchen. You must also reserve your comments until you are given a platform and or an upper hand but still, know your limits! Be aware that you could be the next victim of male pleasures and they can get away with it. Wary that your male counterparts despise you the same way (if not worse) they despise gay people. So best know your position, the kind in which you do not offend men at all. You’re a feminist? Well please side-line that occupation until further notice. Fingers and maybe other things too might wag in your direction if you appear as a woman of power and strength. You doubt me? Engage in a conversation with married career driven women of this country. Well those ladies, have buckets full of stories about women and women positioning so you’re in good hands.

My people are stereotypical so please behave as straight as you can ‒ it will help you, especially if you intend on walking on our cities. My people believe in Christ oh yeah they are Christians but they don’t tolerate “nonsense” so don’t even think about speaking in town if you’re not fluent in their language rather use a map if not a GPS, please. You could be mugged if you don’t obey. Okay now that’s Johannesburg; city of dreams we call it. Some say it’s a little like New York. In Johannesburg you pay people for pointing directions to you and you shall pay more if they feel the need to escort you. Ubuntu does not exist here. We are all Steve Biko’s black man when here ‒ on our own. Note that!

In this country of mine, when you hear anyone saying foreigner, they are referring to people coming from all corners of Africa who have come to, okay I don’t know. My Africanists have too many tricks under their skins it sometimes too difficult to tell their intentions. Please make use of their internet cafés they are so cheap a mere R5 an hour, just be wary of those keyboards, their buttons need to be pressed really hard sometimes and your memory stick might contract a virus or two. Americans? Well those would be tourists! We like those people. We have 11 official languages but I was thinking we should add more, like the sign language and French amongst other widely used languages in this country ‒  indigenous or not.

Do you like to travel? Me too! Here’s a taxi which you can see the ground you travel on when in it. The chair could damage your outfit and its not so pleasant to sit on. It will help you to find something to hold on to when the taxi makes an unexpected turn, just make sure it’s not the door because that could have you kissing the tar and leaving your teeth there whilst at it, be careful! Don’t mention anything of the Gau-train, it was not meant for you and me ‒ too expensive. I don’t own a car so you better start getting used to taxis and finding your own way around town. We should be taking a train, now that’s the culture and lifestyle of a true South African.

Trains here are amazing! You pay a very small fee and get an all-inclusive journey. “Healthy” snacks are available don’t worry about your balanced diet preferences. There are walking stalls to serve your daily fruit dosage. You are spiritual? You’re at the right place, there are all kinds of churches in here just pick one and enjoy the service. Please reward the pastor with at least R1 before you leave, throw it on that hat on your left. If you did not enjoy the service, look into the pastor’s sweaty, old, sad face and you could be propelled into rewarding him with R3 extra. There is comedy on that coach if you prefer that instead. You’d rather have a nice conversation with a stranger? Even better than bluntly staring at the person opposite you, just be really loud because the train noise might break the communication flow. Enjoy the ride; just don’t expect to arrive at your destination until after an hour or two. Smile and greet. When the train gets full along the way, no I meant to say when it gets so congested your nose starts feeling a little weird, stand up for somebody older than you ‒ hold on anywhere. They are probably tired of all the gardening they have been ordered to do by the madam at work, so please be kind.

We do not complain much but when we do, it is in a form of a rally where a lot of singing and dancing is involved, put on your comfy shoes. Be prepared to run and or swear its part of the ordeal. If you want to have a really peaceful life, befriend a few taxi drivers and one or two well-connected police officers. You are in it for a very nice life if you do that. Otherwise you will pay for things you ought not to be paying for. Be kind whenever you can and maybe drop two rands or five to those brothers who do not look like they have had a good bath in the longest of years. You shall meet them at the robots most of the time, if your skin is anyway fair, please put in at least 10 rands. Well if you’re dark like me, they don’t expect much from you. They regard you as one of their own ‒ broke, hungry and poor. So you can just look away and walk on but for your sake I truly hope it’s neither dusk nor night.

This is South Africa, I can go on forever, I however don’t want to spoil the journey for you and the things you could explore. There is plenty for you in store. We are a loving country filled with the same amount of hate if you step on our feet. The food we have, you’d be stupid not to try that, it is best experienced in what we call “eKasi” along with Kwaito music and “Bujwa” dancing. This is South Africa, we are much westernised and English is slowly becoming the widely used language. We refer to people by where they come from, their race or by what they usually wear, feel free to do the same. In this country, soccer unites us whilst politics divide us.

Please find what you like and be joyful in it. We have mountains, rivers, the sea, dams, game reserves, parks, zoo’s, love, hate, anger, corruption, bitterness, four standard television channels which require a television license, a handful of radio stations with fantastic radio jocks, clubs, lounges, prostitutes, beauty parlors I mean you’d really be one of a non-existing kind not to find anything interesting. Try the gizzard kebabs sold in what the not so advantaged call a town. If you’re still not sold then I guess you’re a difficult customer. This is my country; I was born here, I grew up here. I learnt how to share, cry, talk and write in this country. This is where I find love and peace. My dreams will fruition in this country. It is by far not the best of countries but it is my country nonetheless and in my own strange way, I love it!