One of my fondest memories is sitting in an ANC Women’s League meeting next to my mother as a child perfecting the technique she taught me to draw ducks. I was a well-behaved child (as I still am today) and so it took something that simple to keep me busy while my mom was being Superwoman and chairing that meeting. Though it was years ago, I remember how passionate the women were in the meeting and how they mobilised themselves for whatever it was that they were planning on doing. I even saw it in my own house as it was frequently the only available venue and eventually also my aunt’s house whom I stayed with after my parents got divorced.
Another fond memory was meeting Nelson Mandela in Steinkopf when I was about three or four years old on an ANC trip with my parents. I remember us waking up early and my father driving to pick up two other members who were going with us as we lead the buses on the three hour journey. The energy was infectious. And when we got there the place was already buzzing. How I got the chance to get onto the stage and go to Madiba at the table is a mystery to my parents even to this day.
I’ve illustrated these two fond memories because of the current buzz around elections and the uncertainty of many of my peers on who to give their very first vote to. While the Women’s League of today has changed very much from the one that my mom used to chair back in the day and the leadership of the party has also changed, I can’t help but feel the need to give them my vote. I was raised in the ANC and I have experienced it change people’s lives first hand. My education is being made possible by the ANC through the JB Marks Education Trust Fund.
While discussing this with a friend, she blamed me of pity-voting or voting on nostalgia. While it is true to some extent, the reason for my vote is the faith that I still have in the ANC. What the party has helped South Africa achieve is undeniable and while it still is not enough, I do not think that handing the reigns over to another party will bring the desired change. So my faith is also rooted in the fact that they have had 20 years to learn how to successfully run the country.
My wish from here on is that my vote will inspire the current leadership to look back on the past 20 years and learn from their mistakes. My wish is that they will use their experience to truly move South Africa forward. A lot has been achieved and a lot more still needs to be done and I believe that only the ANC is capable of taking us to where we are supposed to be.