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Vote for the Rainbow!

Your vote tomorrow does nothing more than establish your allegiance. Your side. This is not a united South Africa that we vote for tomorrow. This is division politics. The low-hanging fruit of exploited differences that we continue to believe separate us. Decade after decade, this us-and-them politics still pulls you in, still captures your attention. Your resignation. Your participation, your vote, tomorrow is a testimony to the power of modern political marketing, as you once more weigh up limited political options, choosing sides, and expecting, in fact knowing, that very little tangible change will emerge from the process. This is madness. Nothing changes. Ever. Anywhere. And yet, once more, you participate. You vote. For what? This impotence does not work for me. I want change in South Africa. There, I’ve said it.

If you also want change, then you need to embrace the people who live in our country. That is all. You need to step out of your comfort zone, leave your home, leave your neighbourhood, and introduce yourself to the people on the other side of the street, on the other side of your wall, on the other side of the river, on the other side of the socio-political-economic-religious divide. To meet the people in the estates and townships and settlements, the people in the mosques and temples and churches, the people in the ANC and the EFF and the DA. To meet the people on the other side of your fears. You need to meet those people from whom you have always been separated. It’s that simple. And once you have made the connection, you need to nurture it. Commit to this new relationship. Get to know the person, and their family. Listen to their stories, swap recipes. Learn about their amazing lives. This connection is everything. 

This connection will save South Africa. This connection will force the politicians to abandon their marketing of division, as we unite with each other, around our similarities. By abandoning the idea that we are all different and belong in different tribes, different parties, the division, that has been central to the politician’s narrative for as long as politics and ego have existed, will give way to policy. Politicians will scramble to market their wares to a united South Africa, to a South Africa that rejects their division mongering and demands tangible results. That demands change. Connection creates unity, and unity creates policy. Connection will create a South Africa where policy is prioritised, and where differences are acknowledged and celebrated, rather than exploited. 

But this will take work. This will involve risk. And vulnerability, and perhaps discomfort. Afterall, nothing worth fighting for comes easy. You will need to abandon certainty. You will need to fight, and the best way to fight, to bring these politicians to heel, is to unite, to embrace our diversity, to embrace each other. To take the division market off the table and force these civil servants back into doing their job, back into accountability. This will remove the stranglehold that politicians have on our country. This will break the spell under which we all live. As South Africans, we each need to create a single connection with a person on the other side of our fears. We need to rebuild the country from the ground up, one relationship, one connection at a time. This is the only way. No vote can do this for us.

Perhaps this year, after you cross your box, take a moment to reflect on what real change might look like in South Africa. Take a moment to re-imagine our rainbow, promised all those years ago. Take a moment to appreciate the incredible diversity of us all, living together on the southern tip of Africa. Take a moment to celebrate all those beautiful people, your fellow South Africans, who like you at this very moment, believe that their only possible option for salvation lies in making a cross in a box. Tomorrow, as you queue to cast your vote, look around at all the other South Africans standing in line with you, and walk up to one person, perhaps, in fact especially, a person who you may have ignored or avoided in the past, and introduce yourself. Perhaps this year, be the change you so badly want. Compassion creates community, and community creates policy. Be the Compassion Revolution.


If you're afraid right now to connect with someone on the other side of fears, then please at least share this message, far and wide. We need people, millions of people, to connect with each other. This is change. This is revolution. This will save South Africa. Please share. Aggressively.

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