Today, in 1994, we held our first democratic, post-apartheid elections. We stood together edging forward at a snails pace in long snake-like queues, excited and full of hope for the future. We didn’t mind the wait as we chatted with neighbours and made friends with those around us, it really was a day to remember and a privilege to be part of. It was also my eldest sons first experience of casting a vote, making this day even more special. The liberation of most of our people looked bright and I had high hopes for all of us.
In 1995 we held the Rugby World Cup with the final been played right here in Joburg. Even before the game started we were one big happy rainbow nation, how excited we all were at this new way of living and accepting of each other.
Now twenty seven years down the line, I ask myself, am I and others FREE? What does FREEDOM mean to any of us?
To define Freedom – FREEDOM should mean the emancipation from poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.
Are we FREE? We are being lead by a corrupt government who have destroyed our infrastructure, who have not delivered on promises of housing, free schooling, health care, safety etc. etc. Our country is falling apart and no one seems to care enough to do anything about it – apparently, not even our President.
Have we become to complacent?
Are our voices not heard?
Are we happy with what we perceive to be FREEDOM?
We have so many people living in inhumane conditions – are they free to make choices?
Our crime rate is out of control, especially towards women who are raped and killed daily – are we as women FREE?
We have a very high rate of unemployment, yet our professionals/skilled people sit at home whilst everything collapses around us.
We have Khoisan people camping at the Union Buildings for over two years in protest over their non-recognition as the first nation of the country – and nothing! (https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/news/khoisan-protest-at-union-buildings-enters-into-third-year-8d2ef854-e181-4ccc-9fd6-8e88e2fd58bb)
We have artists protesting at the National Arts Council building for over fifty days over the mismanagement of a R300million Covid Relief fund – and nothing!
I’m by no means a negative person and am always looking for the good in everything – and yes, there is good – but it is now beginning to be overshadowed by the absolute incompetence of our leaders and the collapse of our State Owned Enterprises.
I have no solution for any of this but I want to be able to walk freely, speak freely and live in harmony with my fellow citizens who have the right to choose how they live, free from poverty and inequalities.
FREEDOM DAY should be a time to reflect on how we can move forward together, as a strong, unified nation.