|I took these photographs last year.|
As I was waiting, this group of young men walked past, and I must have looked like a welcome challenge because one of them came and sat next to me, while the other five squeezed onto another bench to watch what would happen next. The "I-live-in-SA-and-I-am-a-lone-female" in me a bit like "Ja, you will get robbed in a few minutes", but the optimist in me decided that they were probably nice and I should just have a little chat. Shame, the boy did not expect that.
He told me they had come in a bus from Vereeniging, a city ( town rather) south of Johannesburg, for the day's festivities. They were all still at school and he enjoyed accounting the most. Our conversation was going well, although his English was not brilliant and my Sotho is non-existent. My grandmother can speak Sotho, but all I remember is something that sounds like hutla? It means you aren't listening? Or something. My grandmother says it a lot. The boy just laughed at my bad pronunciation and asked who I had voted for. BAM. There it was. Politics. Fuck.
I hate talking about politics. It is like religion: everyone refuses to change their view while still trying to convince the other person to do exactly that. It is pointless. I wanted to talk about Freedom and how it feels like to be a post-Apartheid youth, not about how I think the ruling party's majority is to big, and that all the parties engage is stupid little squabbles over nothing instead of effecting positive change where it matters. All these parties create division, not unity.
So I said I did not vote and avoided the subject. Luckily my friend phoned, he was already at the bottom, so I said my goodbyes, wished them good luck at school and walked away.
I was barely three meters away when the other boys, who had been watching the interaction intently, started cheering and clapping. What for, I don't know. Perhaps my conversation skills have dramatically improved. Or it was just another weird thing on Freedom Day.