We long for real change.

Author:Motswatswa, Kelebogile
Position:Around Africa: South Africa / Essay - Essay
 
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"The drums weep and the drums laugh."--Langston Hughes What do the results of the elections mean to young South Africans? In this essay, Kelebogile Motswatswa (below) articulates the hopes and fears of the country's youth.

The stakes for this election were high and if change is not implemented as promised in parties' manifestos, the growing frustration of South African citizens will only worsen and socio-political instability and unrest will ensue. We are no longer voting based on who freed us; we want real change and we want it now.

This is reflected in the dwindling support for the ANC and the growth in confidence in the EFF. But with the ANC now having to fight for its life and the EFF celebrating its growth, one wonders how much focus will be given to delivering on campaign promises.

In 1994, when South Africa was liberated from the heinous manacles of the Apartheid government, a sense ofhope and great expectation filled the atmosphere.

Black South Africans basked in the glory of their new-found suffrage--a dignifying right, albeit unfamiliar. They stood in long queues, eager to cast their votes for the ANC, a movement they believed would pave the way for them to realise their ambitions of having better employment opportunities and improved standards of living.

The dawn of the new democratic dispensation was accompanied by a fervent belief that the new ruling party would eradicate many of the systemic and institutional injustices that Apartheid had meted out against Black South Africans.

When the ANC transitioned from a socio-political movement to a ruling party in 1994, it was faced with the mammoth task of effacing three centuries of Apartheid and colonialism; objectively speaking, the ANC did what it could and it would be remiss to say the movement-turned-governing-party never brought about significant changes. While it is true that the ANC have let the majority down in many ways, the interventions they implemented after their first election had a significant impact on the livelihoods of marginalised South Africans.

The introduction of the social grants system, for example, lilted many from poverty; even though the sustainability of the system is rather questionable, it was a necessary intervention while more long-term and sustainable solutions to under-employment and joblessness were being found.

Moreover, there was an improvement on access to public services and education, and the economy showed positive growth. As noted by News24...

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