I’m proud of everyone who voted, but I’ll be even more proud if the political awareness that people used (I hope) when they voted extends beyond the election period. Active citizenship is more than marking an “X” on a piece of paper every four years. Casting a vote is only the start of exercising your democratic rights. To make full use of these rights, you need to stay politically aware. Remember all those promises that the party you voted for made? Hold that party accountable for them. As far as possible, engage with politicians and the media and make your voice heard.

Practice political tolerance while you do this. It is inherent of democracy that political stances will vary. With all the different political parties in South Africa, it’s quite likely that political stances will vary radically. And that’s okay. You don’t have to accept someone else’s opinion – and, by all means, argue your own – but you do have to accept their right to have it. As Friedrich Nietzsche says, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Max

 

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