Why you and I don’t vote: My Theory.
If we look at the wealth dispersion in South Africa, this can be a direct indicator of who really cares about local elections and who really could not be bothered. I sit in a toilet, I flush it, I switch on the lights, it works, I open the tap and hot water flows from it as if it couldn’t be happier to flow at my command.
Now, I’m middleclass…meaning I can afford bread and milk, and to go away on holiday. The petrol price hikes will only affect me by about R20 a tank…so it’s nothing really. Now, a person like me, with all these luxuries if you will, or let’s give it a better name, rights…do you really think I give a horse’s behind who the district counselor is?
But now take Thabo…Thabo lives in a rural area, 20km’s away from middleclass people and their rights, Thabo sits in a toilet…which he calls a “drop” it does not flush, Thabo used to walk 4-5kms, nowadays about 1km to the nearest tap where +- 100-150 people get water from, he gets cold water, Thabo reads Bible just like me, just he reads it with a packet of Lion matches and a 4 pack of candles…The petrol hikes affect’s Thabo’s ability to get to his gardening job(s) every day, he takes 4 taxi’s to and from his job(s) and the petrol hikes means a R1 increase for each taxi, that’s R4 a day all of a sudden…Thabo lives just under the breadline!
Now, do you think Thabo cares about the local elections? Let’s see what local elections mean…it means people are put in charge, locally, for the services of the local community. They are given budgets in order to deliver certain services, services that take the burden of struggle off of the backs of people like Thabo. Of course Thabo will be concerned with the outcome of the local elections, in fact, the recent spate of demonstrations are proof enough that it’s a big matter that will affect the quality of Thabo’s life.
So now we understand why Thabo should care about the local elections…but why don’t we? Why don’t we care if it’s an ANC official, a DA official or a COPE official or even a dog being tasked with the arduous task of improving people’s lives? Let’s be honest…we live in affluent communities, where every house has a gardening service, the houses are clean, in my street alone I don’t see old cars, only new ones. This indicates a flourishing community, just the other day, the streets were given fresh coats of paint to remark the street names and the centre lines and stop lines…there was absolutely nothing wrong with those lines or names, we could all se them very clearly. Now…why does little things like repainting street names in affluent communities get preference over picking up the dirt being dumped next to people’s houses, oh excuse me…shacks?
You see, we have developed a sense of selfishness, a sense of “it doesn’t affect me” and as long as it does not affect me I won’t be bothered. What get’s to me is that the demonstrations we see across Africa at the moment is seen as a struggle for freedom, liberation from decades of dictatorships…its seen as patriotic, the destruction, the non-conformance, but as soon as residence of a poor community demonstrate in our borders, we all see it as cowardly, as unnecessary, as inconveniencing the South Africans that want to work…we’ve even cheapened these strikers or demonstrators’ efforts by aptly branding their protests as a seasonal gesture…a strike season! We drive by burning tires and the ignorant among us accuse these people of being lazy and just wanting everything free! But when the same efforts happen up north, just in much larger scale, we applaud their efforts and all of a sudden understand the cause, we see the humanitarian goal behind the demonstrations…
The reasons you and I don’t vote for the local elections is because it does not affect us…we go by living our lives while people kilometers from us are starving, living below the poverty line, but as long as it does not affect us we are alright with it.
OS over and out – by understanding someone’s struggle, one can learn to appreciate the fighting cause some people not as fortunate as us have to endure in order to be liberated to the basic necessities such as bread and milk, clean hot water at the turn of a tap, the basic human right to take a number 2 in private and have the luxury to flush it and it goes away becoming someone else’s problem…we need to understand and appreciate what our fellow South African’s are struggling for…