Spirit of '94 voting was nowhere to be seen yesterday

While we await the results ...

While we await the results ...

... you'd have noticed yesterday that the Rainbow spirit of '94 was nowhere near any of the polling stations. It had come and gone with the ushering in of the first democratic order.

Granted, there are people, like the toothless lady Asanda Mbetshe, hauled before the cameras on SABC's Morning Live, who were up and whipping voters into line, literally and figuratively, as early as 3am at a voting station in Port Elizabeth.

But voting in their fourth general election, I noticed, at least in my neck of the woods, that those of a darker hue, long disenfranchised, have now become blase about the process.

One too many either lounged at street corners or drudged past my mom's in Kagiso as the queues were forming around opening time, saying they will go "a bit later".

This was in stark contrast to the exuberance of 15 Aprils ago when, in the spirit of the Louis Farrakhan-led Million March Man in 1995, brothers from across the US converged on Washington in an effort to, as they claimed then, convey to the world a vastly different picture of the Black male.

With their sons on their backs and the grannies wheelbarrowed over the valleys to also cast their votes, the black man in the Republic was like the Farrakhan disciples a year later. Out in full force.

Now, as yesterday attested, we are "used" to voting, we take our time.

The IEC was pitching their turnout expectations at 80percent. I pray they achieved it, and more.

But as the merry-making and all sorts of frivolity took precedence over making their mark for the folks in my immediate area of Kagiso, I longed to be a fly on the wall in Khutsong, some hundred-odd kilometres further west.

You will remember that, led by one Jomo Mogale, a local schoolteacher, Khutsong went on the boil a la Soweto 1976 when they revolted against the incorporation of their municipality into the province of North West.

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleka spoke of the Cope Factor as the only added mix to this year's elections. This Factor is the very essence of elections, the reasons for the snaking queues of 1994.

How I wish I was in Khutsong to join in the festivities of what Mogale says were the realisation of "Polokwane resolutions"!

The pedagogue, kicked out of his job for leading the protracted battle against the ill-fated Mbeki camp decision, says his township is 95percent ANC. The rest, Mogale says, belongs to the PAC "because they also listen".

There's no space here for the expletives he spewed when asked about new-kid-on-the-block Cope in Khutsong.

The politicking aside, the braai stands did come out and the long queues were relived, at least.

The mark of Mvume Dandala's leadership, an unenviable task, is to undo the damage done by party president Mosiuoa Lekota's belligerence from his past political life.

As the IEC begins to tally the votes, we can only wish Dandala well!