50 at 25: 'No matter what the ANC does, it will still win the election'
Mgitywa is one of the millions of South Africans who were 25 years old when the country attained freedom and transformed into a democratic state 25 years ago.
Twenty-five years of democracy is a milestone that South Africans are grappling to understand. Do we commerate or is there still too much to fix before we celebrate? We spoke to 50-year-old South Africans who have lived half their lives in apartheid and the other half in democracy for some perspective.
Our series of 50 at 25 continues with Makhosini Mgitywa.
- Read the first story in the 50 at 25 series - Jenny Govender wonders what difference voting will make
Veteran communications specialist and political analyst Makhosini Mgitywa, formerly Nkosi, said South Africa lost track of its agenda to attain a better life for all after the 1994 elections.
Mgitywa is one of the millions of South Africans who were 25-years-old when the country attained freedom and transformed into a democratic state 25 years ago.
50 at 25: 'SA has so much potential but poor leaders'
Speaking to Eyewitness News, he explained that many in the country were yet to taste the fruits of this freedom, despite the potential that South Africa holds.
“The promised land is still a distant memory for a lot of people.”
Mgitywa cuts a lonely figure as he sits at a local restaurant in Spruitview, one of Ekurhuleni’s oldest townships.
The quaint establishment, which is a hive of activity on weekends, was chosen by Mgitywa, who said that he tries his best to bring people out to the township.
Although Mgitywa tries hard to remain hopeful about the future, he can’t help but wonder what will happen to the millions of South Africans who remain marginalised in the economy, social life of the country and the public discourse.
But Mgitywa believed that South Africans are not doing enough to hold government to account. He also singled out the media, saying it is failing communities across the country.
Mgitywa said South Africans do not know nearly enough about the policies implemented by government or those which are punted by political parties contesting the elections in just two weeks.
“It’s become a popularity contest. It makes South Africa a de facto one-party state… no matter what the ANC does, it will still win the election. I think we can do a lot more in the media space to inform people and hold power accountable.”
He said that an obsession with optics has ensured that very few people have the power to fully effect the kind of change that would turn their lives around.
“We don’t have many discussions as we should have. I think what’s reported on politics is based on optics.”
This is unlike when Mgitywa cast his first vote in 1994 when the decision was a straightforward one. Then, the common goal was removing the apartheid government, with many fault lines as a result of disparities under democracy.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)