8 May 2019. Today is election day in South Africa.
It will not be a straightforward choice for many people. There are 48 parties to choose from, ranging from the old favorite the ANC, to whom many people are still loyal despite the disappointments and anger at their reign as government, despite the electricity load shedding and the strikes for basic services, despite the extreme socio-economic rift between rich and poor, despite the corruption,…Maybe billionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa can turn things around. There is the official opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA), who’s campaign seems mainly to attack the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) dressed in red. Then you have the Freedom Front+(FF+) who want Afrikaans speaking people to ‘Slaan Terug’ or fight back. There are christian parties of all denominations, some of whom want to bring back the death penalty and the old movements of the Pan African Congress(PAC), the United Democratic Party(UDP) and the Inkatha Freedom Party(IFP),..the list goes on.
The main candidates have cast their votes, how many other people will come out today, 25 years after the first democratic elections in South Africa, to choose a new government? All the people I talked to want change. They want a new and hopeful future for this beautiful, complex country. Many people want and need the absolute basics to survive. Everyone wants to be able to build a life, keep their children safe and thrive.
I am keeping everything crossed that this election can let in the positive wind of change in South Africa for the future.