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Because my Granny said NO

Posted by: Pumelela Nqelenga

Pumelela Nqelenga

So my granma decided to give me a ring the other day, only to tell me to vote on the upcoming elections. I told her that I was planning to vote and that as a sign of my commitment to the elections, I am writing a blog about the importance of political parties to start using digital...

“My baby, please stop there. I have no clue of what you are talking about and I’m missing my favourite soapie now. Just vote and make sure you don’t vote for corruption”, she interrupted.
 
She put the phone down only to leave me in shock of the realisation that my own granma is starting to be critical about her vote.
 
It was only a few years ago that my granma refused to believe there was no corruption in this country and even when I was winning the argument on corruption she would end off saying, “the apartheid government did it, why can’t we?”.
I hope you can see the impact of that phone call for me. Something shifted. I did not understand it at that time but something was not the same.
 
This then lead me to think more about the next coming elections.
 
In my reflection I saw that these elections are not about big names or big parties; instead they are about me and my community.
 
We are voting for our neighbours and our local personalities, people whom we see in the shops, at church or at the local hospital.
 
When I started to look at it this way, I was shocked at how corruption was so close to me. It was not in some conference room in Luthuli house but just across the street. Just  five minutes away I could confront it and say no to it.
 
So why has it taken me so long to realise the close proximity of corruption?
 
Well it is simple. I have debated with the likes of Helen Zille, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Malema even said a rude word or two to Jacob Zuma in the comfort of my living room staring at the television screen. Mind you, I won every debate.
 
Seriously though, television, radio and newspapers were the only way I could gain information about what was going on in my country. I could not really discuss my issues with the Vavi’s and the Nzimande’s. I was given information and I could do nothing more but vote and hope something would change.
 
Now it is easier. I have social media that can help me get personal access to the big names and start debating with officials.
 
In fact, I propose that all public officials display their Twitter, Facebook, Mxit and Blog accounts on every poster so that we can start chatting. Start a community conversation.
 
It may have been eighteen years too late but my granma has finally started to fight corruption.
 
Why can we not allow social media to makes us more socially active as citizens and help fight corruption?
 
Instead of sending pictures via Mxit about your new manicure or your new ride, why not send pictures of leaking taps or broken windows in public schools to local municipality officials?
 
It takes less than 140 characters on Twitter to answer my question on corruption and tenderpreneurship. Surely someone can answer me.
 
I say no corruption and social media has the potential to empower me to say “NO” loud and proud.
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