Two Lies And A Half Truth
Big Issue|Issue 294
Marketing Campaign Strategist Jordan Pieters delves into the disparities between the constitutional freedoms that young South Africans have been born into, and their lived realities.
Jordan Pieters

My whole life, I’ve been told that I was free. That I am free.Born in 1997, I am a “born-free”. Apparently born free from the chains of oppression. You don’t have to look far back in history to believe this fact. Colonialism, slavery, genocide, and a still-functional apartheid society (with the perpetrators forgiven without the need to ask for forgiveness). In comparison to pre-1994 apartheid South Africa, I am indeed free, and I enjoy freedom from persecution based on my racial classification, yes. But does that truly mean that I am free? That we are free?

Self-determination, the ability to determine your future and plot the course of your destiny unimpeded and unobstructed, is a common understanding of what it is to be free or experience freedom. When was the last time you experienced that? Have you ever? When we use the term “freedom” in South Africa, it appears to be in relation to apartheid and not much else. Let’s then examine some of the freedoms we’re so privileged to enjoy in South Africa.

Political freedom is often pessimistically touted as the consolation prize we received as a proxy for economic freedom following the CODESA negotiations of the 1990s. At least we can finally vote and participate in the democratic process. Political freedom is the ability of a nation’s citizens to participate, and influence the political process freely.

In 2019, the Independent Electoral Commission reported that people in the 18-to-29 age segment had the lowest voter registrations in at least a decade.

Young people, both politicised and somewhat indifferent, already associate the ANC not with the glory of the victory of the struggle, but rather the festering theft and corruption of its members laid bare in recent years. The sheer depth of the decay and desire to steal from and further disenfranchise this nation’s impoverished for braai packs and luxury cars have perhaps been too much information to digest. The extent of the rot is unimaginable.

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