Words by Sabelo Mkhabela
Photography by Andy Mkosi
After 20 years of democracy in South Africa, we asked born-frees – who, for the first time, will be eligible to vote in the 2014 elections – what they will be voting for. We also asked their parents – most of whose own first time at the polls was in 1994 – how they felt, then and now.
Brendon Van Zyl (20) Unemployed: I’m going to vote for education to be free.
Brenda Van Zyl (53) Unemployed: There has been a slight change in South Africa since 1994, but the government has failed us too many times in a lot of ways.
Siyasanda Matshisi (20) Unemployed: I want homophobic attacks to end in South Africa. Homophobia is not 20 years of democracy.
Phindiwe Matshisi (37) Domestic worker: In ‘94, I was voting for freedom and for free and equal education for our children. We are [still] not free in South Africa, crime is a big problem, especially in the townships.
Xola Njengele (20) Student: I’m going to vote for the EFF for Malema to take back our land because, right now, white people are ruling us.
Thulani Njengele (39) Unemployed: In ‘94, I was happy to vote for the first black president. In terms of change, there’s been a huge difference between then and now. For instance, colour doesn’t determine where one can go or be. It doesn’t determine what kind of job, what school you send your kids to. In 2014, I’ll be voting against corruption and poor service delivery.
Phillip Ngcamu (20) Radio intern: I will vote for the Democratic Alliance party because they deliver services to the citizens of the Western Cape.
Pretty Ngcamu (36) Domestic worker: I want to vote for a party that will unite South Africa regardless of whether you are black or white, not a party that will take us back to oppression. It doesn’t matter which party it is.
Vuyolwethu Dubese (20) TV presenter:Things are gradually changing in South Africa. Government should set realistic goals.
Nontobeko Dubese (48) Teacher: As a teacher (which makes me a nurse, a parent, a mentor…everything actually), I voted for us to be appreciated and paid more. I haven’t seen much change, even though I’ve been voting, so I don’t think I’m voting in 2014.
Have you spoke to your mom, dad, uncles, aunt or neighbour about how things were in 1994? Have you shared your own concerns about how things stand in 2014 with them? Give it a shot! You may learn something new like Xola or share a much-needed laugh with your mom like Vuyo.
Either way, it’s a conversation starter anywhere, even with friends. 19-mighty-4 vs. 20-4-Me?
Join our ‘VIP: Voting is Power’ campaign
Do you sigh when you hear the words ‘Elections 2014′? We want to do something about it and feel we need your voices to be heard. Cue our VIP: Voting is Power campaign…Some of our plans for action in 2014 include encouraging you to post your concerns on our dedicated Facebook page, hosting live debates on Twitter and in person, and writing stories or making videos about the real VIPs (people making change) in your community.