Politicking in South Africa has certainly reached new highs and lows in the run up to our National Elections on 8 May 2019. Many of us are possibly feeling despondent, nervous and uncertain about our nation's future. With the media spamming us with information around the widespread corruption, political mudslinging, growing poverty and an ailing economy we are informed and left grappling with what to do with this information.
Despite all the negativity and uncertainty, we need to remind ourselves that we live in a democratic society. It doesn't matter what your political affiliation is, as a South African citizen you have the right to walk into a polling station and cast your ballot for your preferred political party - This is the beauty of democracy.
We are liberated and have a say in shaping the future of our country
When you cast your ballot this year, think about our past and the injustices we had to bear as a nation. Consider the people you love and the country you would like to see them experience in future. Don't stay away from the polling stations because you don't know who to vote for. Instead, embrace your political rights, your freedom and participate in the democratic future of our country.
I'll never forget the feeling I had when I stood next to my mother, holding her hand in the queue as she prepared to cast her vote in 1994. As a coloured woman, this was the first time in her life that she was able to cast a secret ballot. I was only 13 years old but the memory of her excitement, emotion and positivity will stay with me forever.
By far, the most memorable moment for me was watching the tears stream down my mother's face as she dropped her ballot paper into that box. When we left the polling station, I asked her why she was crying. She said, "That piece of paper represents your future in this country. We are free, we are all finally free."
Working at Liberty today, I can see the freedom and opportunities, my mother spoke about so passionately, unfolding before me. The corridors and desks in the building are filled with people from an assortment of backgrounds. My reporting line in the Liberty Communication fraternity consists mostly of influential women from diverse races, cultures and creeds. Today I realise that this is the reason my mother cast her vote. This is why she fought so hard for equal rights.
Build on the foundation of freedom
Despite the challenges that exist in South Africa today, looking around me, I am inspired and motivated. I am willing and ready to build on the foundation of freedom that my predecessors and millions of other South Africans worked so hard to achieve.
So this year, even though I also have concerns about the future of our country, I am going to take my young children to the voting station with me. I look forward to the moment when they see me cast my vote. When they ask me why I am standing in that queue to vote, I'll tell them what my mother said to me, "That piece of paper represents your future in this country. We are free, we are all finally free."
So, I hope that you will join me at the polls on 8 May 2019. Let us exercise our democratic right for the benefit of our country and the people we care for.