Tuesday, April 21, 2009

X marks the spot

There couldn't be a more electric time to be in this country than right now, today. It is, pretty much, the best place to be. In the whole wide world. And I seriousy feel like that. You see, it's the eve of our Elections. And I absolutely love Elections. Even more than waffles with King Cones. And that is saying a lot.

You see, I'm of the fortunate generation in this country who are 'post-apartheid'. Yes, I was here for it, and was surprisingly aware of it considering my age at the time, but I turned 15 the year (1990) they released Mandela and unbanned the ANC (on my 15th birthday, actually - how auspicious) and was able to vote in the first democratic elections of this country (1994). Along with hundreds of thousands of other South Africans, it was the first time I voted too. Auspicious indeed, and I felt (and still do) incredibly priviledged to be able to. Standing in that queue for hours, snaking down our small university town street to the Great Hall was electrifying. And getting the ballot paper with Nelson Mandela's name and picture on it... Inexplicable.

And, yes, these elections are the most important since. The rosy glow of Mandela's term has faded somewhat, we've had scandals, our (almost certainly) new president has some characteristics that defy description in their horrendousness, but he also has some glowing ones and we can only hope that those are the ones he uses. If we don't put our faith in that, we may as well pack up and leave. Essentially though, this country is ours. We have the ability to vote in a decent opposition. We have the power to change things ourselves. We need to stop sitting back and blaming the 'powers that be'. Oh, there are so many tangents I could go off on here but I must do some Real Work.

I just needed to get it out there that, right now, in this amazing country, I couldn't be prouder, or more excited to go and make my X tomorrow. My tummy is positively burbling with glee.

I wonder what I should wear?


Miranda said...

Ah Shiny, so nice to hear a positive attitude to the elections. Hurrah for you! I remember those election in 94 and what a buzz it was. And at the Vic that night they put the UV lights on and everyone put their hands in the air and it was aglow with whatever mooty they put on our fingers to stop us voting twice - remember?

allie said...

Oooh - a venue for "where were YOU for the 1994 elections?"!

I was on the East Rand at the time - a shocked ex-Fish Hoekite, newly moved from my safe little haven to the murder/violence capital of the world.

The great thing was the stark contrast between that and actual election day which passed in a supernatural peace and unity that was almost tangible.

Am with you on this being a great place to be right now, Shiny!

Simply-Mel said...

Aw, nostalgia bites. Great post!

tam said...

Thanks Shiny, I needed to hear this positive take on these elections. I'm feeling a little jaded about it all. But maybe its just my toothache.

Angela said...

We have been reading and hearing so much here (in Germany), and Nicky gave us such a horrendous account, so I`m glad I can feel your enthusiasm! Let the South Africans vote wisely, and may the whole country be blessed! Love to you!

fush and chips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fush and chips said...

Nice, enthusiastic post Shiny. We need more like you in this country.

For myself, I think the heat in the frying pan just went up 10 degrees, and we're just so many frogs. 1994 has been over a long time.

Shiny said...

Miranda - I've just thought, as I read your comment, that I'm sure I have a pic of us in that queue outside the Great Hall, with you and Lukhanyo in it. I must go and look and see if my memory is playing tricks on me.

Allie - good to hear other people feeling positive.

Mel - thanks.

Tam - I truly believe in it too. It's the Pollyanna thing... Hope your tooth is better.

Angela - and we did - we voted peacefully and with incredible turnout and got the results which were to be expected and alright. This country has a long way to go, but it'll be good, I'm sure of it.

Fush - you're right too. I'd be an idiot not to see it but, sometimes, I don't think a bit of heat is necessarily a bad thing. I'm just holding thumbs the man uses his good characteristics...