Sixty and single-minded

Selina Bezuidenhout cast her vote for “the ANC and tata Mandela” on Wednesday afternoon at the Eureka School in Elsies River.

Without so much as a glance at the gatvol looking DA and ID tannies sitting on either side of the rusted school gates, Bezuidenhout also ignored the young man with the Jacob Zuma T-shirt in the shade of an autumnal tree further along the school fence behind the ANC table.

Said Bezuidenhout (60): “I’m an old woman and I don’t want people to talk to me now about my vote. I’m voting for my party and nothing and nobody is going to change me.”

And with that the retired domestic worker marched straight-backed along the plastic IEC-tape marked path, all the way to the voting hall.

Bezuidenhout had spent the entire morning preparing for this moment. “My friends and I prayed for peaceful elections and for all the mothers crying about their tik-kop children.
Now I’m ready,” she said, after an avocado sandwich and a cup of tea.

“I’m so excited about voting. It’s a grand thing to have a vote. My vote means I’m free. I feel that freedom standing here making my crosses next to Jacob Zuma’s face.

“I will never like ‘Umshini Wam’ but the ANC is who I am. They made me free and I vote for them. I imagine that I’m voting for Oupa Mandela.”

Bezuidenhout, a Xhosa woman living in a predominantly coloured neighbourhood, said she is “probably the only person here in this part of Elsies River voting for the ANC”.

“My neighbours and most of the people living in Elsies vote for Helen Zille or Patricia de Lille.”

Also outside the little school hall a group of 18-year-olds, voting for the first time, sat waiting for their friends to make their mark.

“My mother said we must vote for Helen Zille because she doesn’t steal government money and doesn’t give jobs to her pals,” said one of the girls, who asked not to be named.

“I stood in the booth and thought I can vote for whoever and my mother wouldn’t know, but I actually agree with my ma.

“My vote is my secret, but it’s no secret that I will not vote for the ANC. They don’t like the coloureds,” said her friend, who was also voting for the first time.

Leaving the hall, Bezuidenhout waved at the ANC election official slumped in his plastic chair. “Now that I’ve given my vote to the ANC, it’s your turn to do the work and make sure that all those hungry and homeless people get decent houses and food,” she said.

“Voting makes me feel proud. It’s like I count for something. I, Selina, make a difference. I vote for my dreams of a better life for my kids and their kids. Voting makes one think of the future - it’s very precious.”

Go to //www.mg.co.za/mzansivoters to find out how our Mzansi voters fared at the polls.

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