by Pamela Maringa

After all that has happened over the last few years, under the Presidency of Jacob Zuma, my dad is still faithful to his favourite political party.

Over the past couple of years, it has been our family tradition to sit down and watch the evening news together. It is our time to catch up with each at the end of each day. We often look forward to what’s happening in the news, specifically with regard to our country’s politics. It’s known in my family that I would always find something to say about the African National Congress (ANC) and its leadership. Every time the President’s name appears on the screen everyone will turn and look at me.

My dad has been a diehard supporter of the ANC from the days of apartheid and the coalition between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). During his youthful years he would carry me around on his shoulders and we would go to ANC rallies together. He always defended the ANC because of his long term support for them. He felt that the new generation (meaning those of my generation) didn’t appreciate the party enough. After all that has happened over the last few years, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma – things like the Nkandla saga and the State Capture report – my dad still is faithful to his favourite political party.

A few weeks ago the President announced his changed cabinet. It certainly got the whole country talking. The most shocking impact was the news that the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas, were fired and replaced by Malusi Gigaba, who has no experience in finance and business. The Rand weakened sharply. Ratings agencies, like Standard and Poor and Fitch, downgraded South Africa to junk status. The agencies believe that the government has lost its creditworthiness and they also don’t trust that there is going to be consistency in economic policy. The downgrading of the country has affected, unsurprisingly, the willingness of companies to invest in the country.

My dad asked me: “Now who do we vote for?” He talked about how he supported the ANC because of the role it played in the struggle. He went on to say that the party is no longer what he voted for. The values of the late former president, Nelson Mandela, have been lost. When the news emerged that there were to be national marches against the President, my dad joined them without any hesitation. I still remember his words: “I voted for Zuma to be President, and I will can vote him out”. For the first time my dad spoke out against Zuma and told us that he has had enough of him.

As a young South African woman I’m aware of and grateful to all our freedom fighters. But I also think that we shouldn’t be emotionally blackmailed by history. I ask myself whether we are really free in our minds. Our country has been living in the past for so many years, that’s why we currently have a mediocre president.

We should think about the leadership of Christ in these days after celebrating Easter. He was the King that washed his disciple’s feet. He died to save the human race. When I look at my country I see self-serving and corrupt leaders who will do anything for the love of money. Jesus teaches us humility which challenges us to recognise the act of honouring, serving and seeking together the common good and the wellbeing of all – most especially the poor and the vulnerable.

I believe that young people have a strong voice and united we can change the future. Our parents have fought for the freedom we enjoy. Now we have the responsibility to make that freedom work for us.