Last year I was asked on a TV interview about what makes me proudly South Africa. My reply was “Loud Taxi drivers, Our National Anthem, Shosholoza and Boerewors”. This might indicate how loud people South Africans can be. But in different ways. The Taxi drivers, like to play loud music and speak everyone in a loud tone. They can be bullies at time and passengers often fight with them, but this is the first thing I miss when I am out of the country.We have gotten used to their loudness that we just dance along to the music they play. I cannot imagine a South Africa with quiet and well behaved taxi drivers. I cannot even trace a little bit of that image in my head.
Our National Anthem, I don’t think there is any other country in the world, that has four languages in its national anthem like we do. We embrace and celebrate the diversity in which we live in. We also a nation that loves to sing and everything starts and ends with a song. One of the song that unites us all is “Shosholoza” this song originated from Zimbabwe but was made popular in South Africa and we have made it our own. This is the one song that we all hug and sing together. We immediately forget about all differences we might have with one another when we sing this song. It always gives us that proudly South African moment and the hop our country carries. We sang this song over and over when we celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela.
Then my last response was “Boerewors”, boy we make the best sausages in the world. I am so confident about our sausages that when in Switzerland I order a sausage that I could not finish. I told the Swiss people that if they came to South Africa and tasted what we called Sausage they would never want to eat theirs anymore. That traditional South African meal of pap, wors and chakalaka is what makes me proudly South Africa. Every holiday we have in South Africa is an excuse for us to Braai. We love this part of our culture so much that some people make a decent living and huge profits from Braai and hangout spots. One of our most loved quick meal is a Boerewors roll.
All these make me to be proudly South Africa. Freedom has allowed me to celebrate South Africa in a different way than the former generation did. They wanted what is best for this generation, they sacrificed a lot and I am proud to be a beneficiary of this existence. I am not saying we do not have problems in South Africa, of course we do. A lot of them from challenges in education, fighting HIV, high youth unemployment, and random racial comments that sneak in now and then. But, this blog is not about those but about a country that is united despite its challenges.
I think South Africa just like any other African country has been through a lot. Many lives were lost along the way to get us to where we are. Many of those lives wishes us a day where we will be able to cast our votes and decided the kind of leadership we want. The fight was obviously won as most of us even though we did not know who to vote for made our way to the voting stations. We proudly caste our votes and made conscious decisions to stand for our country. The number of political parties that were on the ballot paper also showed the richness of our country. All were represented from Christians to “I don’t care about religion”, to freedom fighters, old parties, new parties, to residents association, black, white, women and Indian parties, former inmates, intellectuals and non academics also had representatives, all we had to go and do was vote for the one that represented us more. Most of us did and others felt that we should make a decision on their behalf and they enjoyed the hard fought for holiday.
Today I sat with a group of friends all supporting different organizations as we waited for the announcement of the elections. Firstly we all agreed that the Elections were free and fair. And the beauty in which South Africa handles elections is amazing. We differed and now we shake hands and say “see you in the next round”. We laugh and share jokes about each other and our campaigns. I think the way we carry ourselves would make Kwame Nkrumah smile. I believe this is one of the things he fought for. South Africa is truly a peaceful country. A country where the citizens call they president JZee and make jokes about him all the time. Where the President has a sense of humour, loves to sing and dance and people love that about him. A country where citizens go to the street and demand that the president himself must come address them. A country that is always awake to injustice and are ready to talk to each about it. A country where people will scream and make noise when they feel like they are not heard. A country where we can all wear different colours but still willing to speak to each other.We occasionally write open letters to one another and we think its funny, some don’t understand, but “that is how we roll”. We all very opinionated and will seek a place and platform to express ourselves at. Regardless of who says what about who they still at end of day share a drink together. Whether Black, White, Indian, Coloured or any other race, we all stand for South Africa and for each other more than against one another. As a family we fight sometimes, but at the end of day we care for each other and we care for our country.
We are a country that is full of possibilities. We have caste our votes and chose our leadership now we need to work together to take South Africa unto celebrating a 100 years of democracy. Let us all buy into the South African dream and the African dream at large. A dream which seeks to have a continent that is prosperous and at peace with itself. A continent that will have countries that are united in their diversity. I am proud to be South African and living in this country that celebrates 20 years of the freedom. I country that says we have not forgotten what happened and we will not allow ourselves to go back there. I am proud to say I am South African.