HOW DARE YOU VOTE LIKE THAT
24 hours ago I evidently lived in a dream world. I lived in a world where intelligent people voted DA, and brainwashed, rural people who still hate white people and can not see any good in us, voted ANC. In my head, Christian black people understood the principle of forgiveness, understood that those in politics today were not responsible for apartheid, and therefore voted “sensibly”. (By sensibly, I mean DA). I realize how disrespectful this statement may be considering the fact that as a reader of this, you may indeed be voting ANC in the May 18th elections. I certainly indent not to offend – so let me explain.
I have grown up in a world where I was aware of apartheid, but was never directly affected by it. (No – this is a lie. I lost a full bursary to Grey College because, in 1995, the bursary had to be redistributed. Somewhere in SA, there is a black 28 year old who enjoyed a Grey College education at my expense. However – that is not the point.) I grew up on a farm where black people were part of my life, and in fact, grew up with my best friend (a guy by the name of Vuyo who is still a part of my life today) being black.
As I got older and started to understand things, I realized that the ANC made many promises that, in effect, meant that I as a white male am now at a disadvantage. However, more importantly that than, I realized that this party that fought so hard for the freedom of Black South African’s; the party that, under the leadership of (arguably) the world’s most respected man – Nelson Mandela – became the first democratically elected government, is also the party that has screwed “it’s own people”. From my (most likely biased) point of view, many promises are made by this political party that are never carried out, and rather than the previously disadvantaged black South Africans enjoying the life they ought to, those in power are keeping all the resources for themselves, enjoying corruption and paying little attention to the people who put them in power. Again, from my perspective, few can disagree that the country was a far cleaner place before the ANC were placed in power; few can disagree that service delivery was much better before the ANC were placed in power; and few can disagree with the facts – that Cape Town is the best run city in South Africa because the DA is in power there. From where I stand, it is ridiculous that anyone would want to continue to vote for this party.
But then, someone tweeted.
This morning, a very high profile, black, Christian celebrity who I know, but whose name I will not mention, tweeted the following:
“They’ve stuffed up and yes it makes me angry. I however reserve the right to have hope and as a black man cognisant of the times past and present for ME it is only right I vote ANC! I’m a forward thinker but when my mom’s voice quivers as she tells me of personal experiences of the atrocities that took place in this country I have to think twice. My mom asked where was Hellen Zille when a law was passed that bantu education is all blacks needed. No one stood up for them!”
So here’s why I said at the beginning that I lived in a dream world: Because this particular individual fits into NONE of my stereotyped “rural, brainwashed, racist” ANC voters.
And here’s my question: Have I as a white South African underestimated just how deep the hurt runs for those who were directly affected by the apartheid. As a young South African, 17 of my 28 years have been lived in a “free South Africa”. While this is the majority of my life, the country has only been free for 17 years, less than half the time black people endured oppression. Can we really judge those with a minimum of 46 years worth of hurt and pain (that’s how long apartheid “officially” lasted for) for still having some hope in the party that fought for their freedom.
I need to say that I still see no logical reason for anyone – particularly a Christian – to vote for a party that I consider to be corrupt, whose leader I see as being a blatantly blasphemous polygamist; one that is fighting to sing songs that promote violence (regardless of the traditions involved), and which I consider to have neglected the downtrodden and paid little attention to service delivery.
However – I understand a little about hurt. I know the effects that the hurtful things in my life (which pale in comparison to the hurt of apartheid) have caused. I know how difficult it has been to forgive those who have hurt me. I know that my emotions often, if not usually, speak far louder than my logic. And, I know that when dealing with hurt, it was grace and love that took me to a place of healing – not logic.
Do I think the ANC deserves a single vote in the May 18th Election. Of course not!
Do I think I have the right to judge those who vote for the ANC? An even louder “No”.
I have the responsibility and the privilege to love those who my forefathers have hurt, to show them that not all white people are like those who, to quote this particular person, “decided that buntu education was all black people needed”. I have the right and responsibility to ensure that in my world, my sphere of influence, I can show my black friends through my actions and my commitment to bring about a truly unified and racism-less nation, that while I cannot support the party they support and while I do not understand why they still support the party, I can appreciate that this is the party that has placed them in a position to be able to vote for whomever they choose.
I guess the question could be asked: Would the israelites, only 17 years after being freed from captivity in Israel, vote for the party that put Pharaoh in power. (Yes, I’m using some poetic license here).
By judging my friends who vote ANC, am I not perpetuating the notion that black and white can not agree? And I not perpetuating the notion that all white people are racist? Am I not perpetuating the notion that I believe the only hope for South Africa is a white president. Am I not pushing those one the fence closer to the ANC camp because I’m proving them right?
I live in a world where I believe perception is everywhere. For me, a 28 year old white male, my perception is that voting for the ANC is hopeless. My perception is from a place of, what I call, logic. The perception of a black, ANC supporter is different. That person does not vote from the same platform as I do, but from a position of many years of pain and fear.
So here’s the big question: How can we get our perception, opinions, pains, fears, loyalties and logic to meet so that together we can enjoy a better South Africa?