South Africa - An Example To The World
by Margo Bastos
(Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
As the amazing changes that have taken place in South Africa over the last 15 years show - in human relationships, anything is possible! As yesterday's Polling Day in Port Elizabeth shows...
(STORY THEME: HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS)
...Well, this is a personal story but not only about ME. First of all, yesterday, 22nd April 2009, was our general elections in South Africa and I was representing one of the political parties at a voting station. This meant being on duty from 6.30am until all the votes were counted and boxes sealed for our station. We finished at 3.30am!
Two things to remember! It is only since 1994 that every South African has been able to vote AND we are part of Africa...
Elections in Africa are usually fraught with all sorts of allegations of corruption, violence and other stuff that makes me want to run away...
But yesterday was inspiring!
I had almost twenty four hours to watch fellow South Africans standing in a long line for hours and generally sharing the excitiement of being able to make a X.
Young people, black and white, voting for the first time. Elderly folk being taken to the front of the long queue by election officials - and nobody moaning! Chairs being shared by those who found the standing too tiring. Agents from different parties sharing food. Black and white older people sharing stories - as if the past has come and gone. I did not feel any tension, any animosity, any blame, any anything that I would expect from a group of mismatched people who are still learning how to live with each other. What an inspiration! We ordinary humans are really able to do what we need to do if we just relate to each other as individuals... I saw that yesterday as people who, 15 years ago, would not even walk on the same side of the road as each other.
Made me proud to be South African!