Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Vote-Did I Make The 'Right Choice'?

Yesterday was South Africa’s voting day – the day was a public holiday- yay. So until 2 days ago I didn’t think I was going to vote, but this was for different reasons to everyone else that seemed to not want to vote purely because they didn’t know who to vote for. I didn’t have those problems (or so I thought), I had missed the registration date and so thought I wasn’t registered but it turns out if you voted in 2004, you didn’t need to register again unless you changed locations, so I was still registered, but obviously in Rondebosch, where i used to live, which was awkward, how does one get there? Yes its only 7 minutes away from town, but I never leave town, why would I, have you been to town lately, town rocks! I had all the intentions to wake up early, cast my vote and feel empowered, even though I didn’t know for who yet – I soon realized, I was still excited, but then as I often do, I woke up at noon, which is to be expected after going to bed at 5am! When I woke up I heard on the radio that it didn’t matter where you were registered, you just had to fill a ‘form’ and you’d be able to vote – this announcement agreed with me cuz I’m surrounded by schools and civic centers… no I do not live in a settlement, just the Cape Town zoning is a bit odd, the city’s greenbelt, aptly named Green Point (where I live) is filled with schools, but that’s irrelevant right? So I made my way to one of the schools, decked out in greys and blacks, broken with hints of whites, you had to see it to love it – I had to have a moment, I was gonna be walking, I barely walk, but when I do, it must be a moment – again digression! My point was to convey the mood of the day, as much as we all like hate to admit South African voting is still racially charged, so I had the black jeans to represent black, the white v-neck t-shirt and white sneakers to represent the white, then the grey jacket and grey scarf to represent the middle ground which is where I often find myself, the aviator shades were just a creative call, not much meaning there! So I got there and everything was clearly, well maybe not clearly, but it was marked and the queues were short, I stood a total of 10 mins till I got to the table where a somewhat illiterate lady filled the form for me and I made my way to being inked and given two ballot papers – it was at this queue that I decided to start texting people, my friends, mom, dad etc to ask them who I should vote for, COPE, DA, ANC? one of the responses from a ‘will-not-be-named’ assumed responsible individual was “Vote for who you think is the better crook”, I gasped and some suggested the I.D & some UDM, that’s when I started questioning some of my friends’ intellect, a ridic suggestion was MCQP, which made me blurt out a loud shriek, people found this behavior peculiar (the laugh) considering everyone else looked nervously poised, you could have sworn they were Arabs going through customs in the States, anyway at the same time I was getting pressuring messages like, “do the right thing for your country”, what the f*%k IS the right thing? All in all it was an exhilarating 3 minutes in that final queue. I was then ushered to a booth and I took my time to look at both the Provincial and National ballots, then I voted, for different parties on each, in my head it seemed calculated but knowing me I probably cocked everything up. But at least I can say I voted. I exercised my right. The picture I took while in the booth, I was worried they might arrest me if they heard my phone camera go ‘click’ - which I guess would have been mildly more exciting than being back at work.

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