I’ve never voted, and at 31-years old that means I’ve passed on my right more than just a few times.
I’m not proud of my apathy, the fact that I’d rather take that day off as a day off instead of lining up and making my mark.
My dad gets especially angry, and reckons that I should be forced to go to work on that day. I told him that not-voting was my little way of balancing the injustices that his generation benefitted from. An affirmative action of sorts. Well, he liked that even less.
Meanwhile all the Facebook Clicktavists have been very busy on their soapboxes shouting that if you don’t vote then you can’t complain, which is rubbish, because surely if you do vote then you’re to blame for what ends up in parliament?
I didn’t put them there, therefore I can complain.
Anyway, the main reason why I’d never voted was because I didn’t have an ID book. Well I recently found it! Which had been missing for, oh, about eight years. It slipped out of the book that I was busy rereading, Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast, and to celebrate this discovery I decided to register to vote in the upcoming elections.
But having never voted before, which is the right party for me? No clue. (If JZ wants to buy me groceries I might be swayed. Just saying). So I got hold of my old school-chum, Babalo Ndenze, a senior journalist and parliamentary correspondent, and asked him to set me straight.
Okay, Bayo, how did you end up working in parliament?
I was working for the Cape Times as a Metro Reporter when I saw an internal job advertisement for a parliamentary position. I basically just applied and a few weeks later I got the job. It was an internal shift so it was pretty smooth and easy.
What’s the biggest perk of the job?
Besides a few presidential cocktail invites, we don’t have too many perks.
What’s the most decadent thing you’ve experienced?
I can’t help associating decadence with red velvet chocolate cake.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen in parliament?
A lot weird things happen in parliament, besides the dress code and conduct of certain MPs.
How tight is security?
It’s pretty tight. It’s not easy moving around without verified ID.
I’ve never voted before, but recently registered for the first time. Seeing as you know about this sort of thing, who should I vote for and why?
Let your conscience decide for you. Base it on principle, policy and quality of leadership of whichever party.
Do you think the DA and ANC would be better off with different leaders?
Yes. These are changing times. Some of the country’s most controversial and damaging incidents and decisions happened under the ANC leader’s watch. I could go on for days. The DA leader on the other hand has proven to be quite a dominant figure in the party, a little too much for some people’s liking. She also led the party, head first, into its failed merger with AGANG SA.
Which party did the DA-AGANG thing hurt more?
It definitely hurt AGANG more. The party was still at infancy stage, less than a year old. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe went as far as calling the party a “stillborn”. The party is also reportedly cash-strapped.
What’s your career path/where would you like to end up?
I’m pretty modest in my career aspirations.
Lets say you were president for the day, what changes would you make?
I’d make it easier to do business and release all political prisoners (Apla etc) held under apartheid, who still languish in our prisons.
Now that Madiba’s left us, how long until SA ends up like Zimbabwe?
South Africa will never end up like Zimbabwe. We have a different political system, history and different leaders. You may have also noticed how the country has moved on quietly since Madiba’s passing.
Remember when I had dreadlocks? Boy was I gorgeous. I’m bald now. Would you mind describing my dreds for anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to go to school with me?
They looked good on you. You had that laid-back surfer look. I remember they were quite thick and flat. You actually looked a little like the guy from Just Jinjer, Art Matthews.
You cut me deep, Bayo