South African Elections 2009 – Voting for Change?!

It is Wednesday 22 April 2009. A seemingly ordinary day, but with a difference. It is starting to get colder as winter makes its approach, but, more importantly, today is the day of South Africa’s fourth independent and democratic elections.

For the last several months, South Africans have been bombarded with voting paraphernalia and propaganda. Whether it has been through the radio, television, flyers, social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) or even via text messages; the message was clear – the time for choice is once again upon us.

As it happens, our voting station is less than 5 minutes from our house, near a Golf Course. My father and myself went to vote just after lunch, at about 14:30. We were not sure what to expect. I have heard some real horror stories regarding the voting procedure – wait times of over 5 hours, mugging’s, deaths, births… Okay the last one I made up, although its not impossible, but I’m sure you get what I mean. So, understandably, I was quite nervous, this being my first time and all. That is correct, until today, I was a voting ‘Virgin’ and had yet to have my finger molested with voters ink.

I can tell you, we were actually very lucky. There was only a queue of about 20 people. The whole process took us less than 15 minutes. I turned out to be the 990th person for the day at our particular voting station. I know this because before you are allowed to vote they scan your ID, give you a ‘receipt’ of sorts and then they proceed to rape one of your well manicured fingernail’s with ink. I have heard that one can apply clear nail polish before voting for easier removal after the ‘marking’. However, that would not have worked in our case, since the person dedicated as the ‘Marker’ decided she’d be liberal with the ink and not only mark the white quarter moon of my thumb’s nail but also whatever she thought resembled the cuticle.

All in all I was rather impressed with my voting experience. However, I now know that this was not the case for everyone. A simple glance at the ‘status updates’ of my Facebook friends indicated that most waited in queues for no less than an hour. Some waited for almost four hours. Ah, such are the perks of living in the East ;-)

Interested in real-time voting results? Just click here.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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