IN the 2009 general elections, the ANC was told it would lose many of its votes to COPE. Now we are made to believe that it will lose them to the born-frees (young people born in and after 1994).
As we head to this year’s elections many worry about the future of the ANC, which could be shaken by the born-frees. It is assumed that this group won’t vote, considering South Africa’s apartheid past, that unlike their parents, apartheid has no relevance in their lives, the media and analysts argue.
That analysis is short-sighted and is meant to confuse young voters whose lives are shaped by apartheid in every aspect. Born in and after 1994 does not mean apartheid did not affect them.
It’s also unwise to assume that most born-frees will not vote ANC.
Our parents and their parents were never given the opportunity to further their education. Our parents who grew up under apartheid are unable to pay our school fees and varsity tuition fees, and they struggle to find jobs in today’s over-competitive labour market.
Apartheid’s exclusion of our black parents from getting a proper education so as to get good jobs will still haunt us even after we have graduated. This is so because as black South Africans do finally get jobs they will have to help with the education of their siblings and pay the financial loans they got while in varsity.
This means you won’t be able to buy yourself a car or a house, or save for your own children’s future education as fast as you would like.
What now Helen Zille and some black and white South Africans are saying is that we must pretend apartheid never existed and that the unequal society that exists today cannot be blamed on apartheid. Yet even the born-free generations still lick the wounds of apartheid passed on by their parents.
The transition to democracy did not instantly give blacks the education and skills they needed, equate public and private schools or transfer the economic power from whites to blacks. It did not in an instant eliminate poverty.
I refuse to sing the same tune with the people who see no real progress or transformation in our country when there is.
I went to a mud public school in the former rural homeland of Ciskei (Mgwali location). There was no running water at the school or clinic nearby. But now those have been transformed. We have a clinic and the school that I went to has water and is no longer a mud school.
I refuse to believe that born-frees are a threat to the ANC. Many of them matriculate and get to universities, to be welcomed by Sasco, having been in the hands of student organisations like Cosas in high schools.
Many of the tertiary institutions’ SRCs are led by Sasco with born-frees taking a leading role in influencing education policies. These organisations have clear visible links with the ANC.
If the born-frees hated the ANC so much there wouldn’t be Sasco or Cosas. Both Sasco and Cosas are independent, but have close relations with the ANC.
COPE did not even come close to being a threat after its breakaway. In the 2009national elections COPE managed to gather a mere 7.4% votes behind the DA, which gathered 16.7%, and the ANC leading with 65.9%.
I refuse to vote DA because it sees transformation in a country with a huge gap between whites and blacks as reversed apartheid and has slowed it wherever it leads. I refuse to vote DA because it simply sees blacks as bait to attract other blacks to the party.
Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang is not even relevant to my thoughts. It’s simply an old gogo’s stokvel whose bite won’t even hurt the PAC or Patricia de Lille’s orphaned ID. Ramphele failed to transform the World Bank and also UCT when she was vice-chancellor.
I cannot waste my mind, time and ink reflecting on the EFF as it will die a natural death.
The ANC is the only political party that is relevant and has shown commitment in trying to solve South Africa’s challenges. That is why born-frees will vote ANC.
Thando Adonis, ANC member and volunteer, Port Elizabeth