Wednesday, 07 May 2014 23:27

My First Time Voting

Written by Ashleigh Davids
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According to the IEC only 30% of those young South Africans eligible to vote for the very first time had actually bothered to register and chances are that even less bothered to go out and vote.
However member Ashleigh Davids was one of those who did and she shared her experience.
- Editor

So today was weird.
It was my first time...

I thought about keeping quiet about this because some people disagree or pledge indifference, but what kind of life is that? Let me live and I’ll let you do the same, okay?

Since registering to vote some weeks ago, I’ve generally been dumbstruck about which party to vote for. Between my confusion, being tired and not feeling motivated to walk to the Kleinvlei Community Hall where I cast my vote,  I almost changed my mind. I didn’t want to be a quitter, the entire scenario reminded me of the last time I made an appointment to write my learner’s license test, and missed the test. I wanted to finish what I started. I wanted to vote.

After slipping on a pair of track pants and a t-shirt and arming myself with a novel and a module on writing a business plan in case the lines were long, I almost thought my mission impossible once I realized that my ID wasn’t in its usual spot. Signs and wonders maybe? Maybe not. I found it.

At the polling station, it seemed as though most of my neighbours decided to make use of the special public holiday to catch some z’s or do other things, an option which did seem tempting. It was interesting to me that I stood among the elderly as opposed to fellow young adults.

Voting was quick and the officials were helpful. But my experience at the ballot box was weird. I swear I heard voices. Scripture, screams from heaven, perhaps? I stood still for a moment while perusing the ballot sheet before making my mark – provincial and national government, I was delivering my contribution.

I left the polling station feeling provoked by mediocrity. I was happy that I exercised my right to vote but I was unhappy about my choice. I lacked confidence in the party I voted for, and perhaps only voted because I chose to do so.

Sometimes current affairs and social ills seem to big for my small mind to fathom. I will be the first to admit that I do not know enough. But I continue to wonder how I, can make a difference. Honestly, I don’t have energy for the Facebook rants and long winded debates, I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful opinion – but I’m not sure how productive we are when trying to convince someone of our standing while belittling theirs.

I hardly know where to continue from here. But I did it. I cast my vote. Hopefully, my journey as a student (coming soon to a University near me) will add on to my existing knowledge and equip me with additional skills and worldview to be an active citizen combating the various unpleasantness we see in South Africa today. For the least, I’ll be writing about it.

Here’s what singer/songwriter, Eden Myrrh had to say:

Today was a particularly happy day! I felt both conflicted and inspired, thankful and more. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I look at huge problems that I’m passionate about, they seem too huge for me to do anything about them, and sometimes I feel that sinking back and not taking action is better. ITS OBVIOUSLY NOT. I’m glad I voted. Our country NEEDS change. Even if I’m one person. After voting I felt inspired to carry on doing the work, never grow weary in doing good, and to keep on fighting, even if I’m the only one; which I never am. There are always others.

Click here to see the Original Article or to read more artciles by Ashleigh Davids.

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