I’m a 24-year-old from Mamelodi and I’m not voting.
I am not voting because I am angry. I am angry at the country’s failure to take our pain seriously. I am angry because our apparent “South Africa for all” has failed to be for me.
I have decided not to vote because I know nothing ever changes and our struggles only get heightened.
I am a victim of political failure and it hurts because I was supposed to be born-free but our asthmatic democracy has made fun of our faith in the system.
Our alleged democracy has taken our dreams by the neck in attempts to show us all that we think we deserve but can never have.
“Born-free” a rhetoric, hyperbole. Created for us the youth of South Africa, only to keep us holding on to a dream that was never meant for us.
Just so you know, we are barely holding on.
With all the crimes against our humanity, poor education systems, unemployment and lack of opportunities we are barely holding on.
Speaking for myself and no-one else. The now “South Africa for all” system has failed me. Not once, not twice but for all my born-free democratic-two decades and a half-years, or should I say life? Because it actually has been that long.
My mom has never been employed, my parents have had to always sleep with one eye open because… My God the crime and injustice in our townships is out of hand.
I was never allowed to play with other kids outside my yard because it has never been safe for children in South Africa and democracy has made it worse.
Schools are not safe, so growing up we had to be taught all these survival mechanisms because school grounds and school premises are battlefields.
Not only are we at war for an education we deserve, we’re also at war to keep our virginity, we’re fighting to be kept safe and to be protected.
We’re fighting to be understood, we’re fighting to be taken seriously, we’re at war to be allowed to be ourselves and not to be discriminated against, because of our skin colour, sexual orientation and all the other things we cannot change about ourselves.
Our healthcare systems are terrible, women’s healthcare is only just a fairy-tale.
I will never forget how the justice has been failing me. It failed me when I was robbed and almost raped by a taxi driver who was supposed to get me home safely.
I had to fight for my life and I was dumped in the middle of nowhere, at night, in winter.
The horror of going to the police to report such an incident and being laughed at still haunts me. It still breaks my heart how funny it was to grown men to have me aching for help, it destroyed me.
…and now I have to live my life knowing that I’ll always run into the men who did this to me simply because under this democracy of ours, we still have people who are above the law.
Our born-free democracy has handed our freedom to criminals. Voices of those who need to tell their horror stories are not heard. The only voices that get heard are of those who were silenced forever, those who did not survive murder and rape but only have their names on hashtags and placards speaking for them.
In my South Africa our lives do not matter. We only matter when we are victims who become statistics they lyricize during elections in ought to sell us dreams of what they can prevent from happening, only if we VOTE FOR THEM.
So, I am sorry, I am not voting because if in South Africa voices do not matter, then our silence should be loud enough to speak for us.