We look forward to celebrating 20 years of democracy with mixed feelings.
There seems to be some erosion of democracy: attacks on the office of the public protector, criticisms of the judiciary and the independent media are among some concerns.
Twenty years ago, we were hungry for change and inspired by the freedom icon Nelson Mandela. There was an idealism in the air, a time of hope. Hope for the future. A bright future.
Many of the past freedom fighters, heroes who carried the dream of Freedom are no longer with us.
The death of Madiba together with endemic corruption is slowly killing our hope.
A number of parties campaigning for this year’s election are claiming that their manifestos will be the anecdote that will restore that hope and dream of the future.
We hope it’s not too late.
The youth’s attitude to these manifestos is cynical. Can you blame us? We, the not quite born-frees, born just before 1994, the early twenty ‘somethings’ are continuously disappointed.
We are not experiencing the patriotism and pride, we feel we should. We have been disappointed countless times by our leaders who act without any accountability, for example the recent Nkandlagate scandal.
There is nothing compelling in the country, nothing impressive, that induces patriotism, for us youth. Look at the huge unemployment figures for youth in the country.
We would like to believe however that hope is still buried in our hearts, somewhere, waiting to be released.
We want to believe that no matter how bleak it may all seem, change is possible.
We want to believe that our freedom was not fought for in vain and because of that we will celebrate these past two decades as though they are our last.
We want to reminisce on all the wonderful tales that narrate South Africa’s long walk to freedom.
We want to cross our fingers and hope that we choose wisely at the polls, but above all we need to remember that this country is ours. What it becomes in the next two decades is our responsibility.
Mark Twain once said “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it”.
We hope that in the next 20 years we will confidently say that we strived and worked together for a democracy that South Africa deserves.