Reader’s letter: The choice to vote


Hanno Bisschoff writes:

The ballot boxes are opened again this year for citizens to be able to give their opinion on the direction of the country.

Everyone hopes for something better – everyone votes for something better.

More jobs, better roads, safer streets, free land ownership versus private land ownership, free medical funds versus private medical funds, and so on.

The danger of refusing to participate in the election is that the “others” with conflicting interests and conflicting priorities may thwart “our” dream. We must vote, that the country can look like OUR dream. If WE don’t vote, the country will look like THEIR dream.

Among voters there is then an aversion to those who do NOT vote. Members of their own team who let the opportunity for a win slip by because their cross is wasted. As a de-facto rebel and family crosser, I thus find myself in the latter camp.

With this I want to make it clear – I do not vote, but I choose.

I choose daily to start the day with a nice cup of coffee and reading the Bible – maybe this improves our country’s mental state. It definitely helps mine.

I choose to tackle my work day diligently and to perform my work with pride and diligence. Maybe it helps our country’s struggling economy.

I actively choose to keep my company from all kinds of BEE and transformation targets, often at the cost of money – because it might bring an end to our country’s racist workplace laws.

I choose to do my own gardening and keep my own house clean – maybe this helps with our country’s demographic challenges.

I choose to try to remember every time what the Afrikaans word for a thing is, even if it sometimes sounds strange. Maybe it helps our waning language and anglicized kids.

I choose to get to know my country’s history and nature and share it with others. Do you know the hill where Danie Theron died under a volley of English bombs between Blue Buffalo Grass and Kiepersolle? Or the Mopanie plains where drought land migrants seeped into the oblivion of this continent? Perhaps the road to Australia and Canada looks like the leafy green hills of Natal – the “promised land” – which the Trekkers were allotted for only four years. Perhaps these stories combat emigration among our children.

Africa has always been a millstone. If you don’t turn him for flour yourself, he will hang around your neck.

I choose the realities of this continent. I know him as my ancestors knew him – his sweet and his bitter, and I know he values ​​a choice much more than a vote. If you evade him today with a voice, he will press your heart tomorrow with a red-earth-thunderstorm-axe-raised-up question: “Are you going to vote or are you going to choose?”.

Voting is good. Choosing is better.