Monday, April 28, 2014

Born in the 1990s With No Memory of Apartheid

Khothatso Madisa

It saddens me at times when I hear stories of how wonderful it was when people cast their votes for the first time in 1994 when all I can remember is being 3 years-old and playing with sand.

The saddest thing is that I cannot even remember people, not even my parents, coming back home in joyous celebrations  from voting stations. All I remember is that I loved plastic toy cars and I probably spend the whole day imitating the likes of Michael Schumacher.

Maybe its just jealousy speaking since I would have given everything to be in those long queues with the excited masses eager to cast their very first vote. Everything my generation, the generation of 1990s, know about when South Africa found democracy relies solely on what we've seen on the television or heard on radio.

Because of not having been there, not having had first hand experience on how it was before democracy and how black people had to change directions whenever they would have to cross paths with the white man. We appreciate very little of what we have today.

I remember a couple of years ago when I was asking my parents about the difficulties of living under the oppression. My father was once arrested for not carrying his Dompass under Pass Laws when he had to work and take my mother through college.

But because our generation never went through these hardships, we sometimes tend to take the freedom we have for granted.

South Africans will on 7 May 2014 vote for the fifth time since democracy, my generation will be voting for the second time. But because of lack of interest, which stems from lack of knowledge, not many of us will be going to the polls. Those who will be, do not understand why they are going and the significance it has.

Those who are not going to the polls, are too good to stand on long queues for many hours, I guess. Only if we understood what it took so that we are able to make that choice today.

I remember speaking to one of my peers about how democracy means and somehow the conversation led to cadre deployment we are witnessing in our government. He told me how this is "a turn-off" because this means he will not get employment since he was too young be a comrade during Apartheid.
I believe I am privileged because my parents were able to get me through school, which by the way is free for everyone now, I am able to understand the significance of democracy and how without it I would not have white friends (where would I have met them?) and would have to succumb to learning Maths or even English in Afrikaans.

Do we then blame such policies for our lack of interest in this democracy and how it was gained or are we too spoilt for choice that we are overwhelmed?

I have read on most of the oppression laws and I understand what it meant for black people because 

I ask questions becauseI have an interest and I want to be able to appreciate what we have today.

My belief is that you cannot fully appreciate something or a situation if you do not know how it came about and the only way to appreciate our democracy is to ask what happened during the struggle. Understand how people gave their lives for the betterment of the black race.

No comments:

Post a Comment