Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Don't Fence me in!

On the home front, the hope of a chance to make things better politically has been keeping many of us busy. Up until now, I have felt "fenced in" by the fact that the ruling party is getting more and more entrenched, and giving itself more and more freedom to play around with the constitution and the law to suit its own agenda. Much as I believe every citizen has a duty to vote, in recent elections I have struggled to decide who to support, as it seemed so pointless. But, as I have mentioned before, the new Cope party has, for the first time, offered a realistic hope of challenging that.

Things are getting interesting..... South Africans living overseas may now get a chance to vote (in a piece of policy making madness, it was decreed that SA Citizens who were abroad at the time of elections could not vote, but convicted criminals in prisons could freely do so....this has been appealed and overturned in court.) An election date has been announced (22 April) and it is all systems go to get the fledgling Congress of the People party, with no Government funding or billionaire backing, ready for the challenge to ANC's entrenched place in Parliament.

Intimidation is becoming rife, the ANC has been attacking Cope supporters around the country, and engaging in dirty tricks like electioneering at pension payout points in the rural areas, telling people that if they want to continue getting their pensions, they must vote ANC (they must have been taking lessons from their friend Bob up North!) and Cope is working hard to get the message out that what happens in the ballot box is private, and it is safe to vote for them.

So..... interesting times ahead. By the way, if you are interested in this development, and want to know more, there is an extremely lively Discussion Board on the COPE facebook group and a link to the Cope manifesto. There is also a fascinating group called Political Discourse, where a high level of articulate debate goes on. (If you do get into the Cope DB, just bear in mind that it is a free for all, and not confined to Cope members, so don't take everything you read as Cope policy, I sometimes think there are more ANC and DA members than Cope people taking part in the debates, but that in itself indicates the broad tolerant approach of the new party, which welcomes healthy interraction and freedom of speech.)

When I am not doing my "political activist" thing, I am conscious that I have such itchy feet lately, all I want to do is travel. The reality is, both time and budget constraints don't allow too much of that right now. But there are ways around that, like blogging and visiting all those fascinating parts of the world I long to go to, portrayed through the eyes of those who live there and document these places in Fab photos. I am loving the Northern Hemisphere snow scenes right now. (To be honest, there's a lot to be said for this armchair travel, keeping warm whilst admiring the snowy scenery has its up-side.)

My other strategy is to make a point of enjoying the world in my immediate vicinity, noticing the everyday beauty around me, a new flower in the garden, a lovely sunrise over the sea, a confused Jacaranda tree that put out some beautiful purple blossoms, thinking it might still be spring :), kids playing in the park.... capuccino at Vovo Telo, the great cafe and artisan bakery around the corner, and of course, taking every opportunity that presents itself to hit the road over the weekend, even if it is just a jaunt along the coast to Schoenmakerskop or further afield to St Francis.

This sunset was taken on Friday night, on the outskirts of town, on our way to Port St Francis. (I posted more pix on facebook if you want to see them....)


Firefly said...

I don't know how you are COPEing with it all. LOL.

I love the picture. I have a travel itch I can't scratch at the moment as well and feel exactly like you. Got to travel around our beautiful city to try and quench the thirst.

Heather said...

I am thrilled to hear about the COPE movement..have read the links you posted and am now hoping that us expats will get a chance to cast an absentee ballot!

CJ said...

Hi Suzi,
Wow, just popped over to see if you were around! So thrilling to see what you've been up to - and drool over some homestyle scenery. We all knew it would take some time for a working opposition to get it together - this is such good news. Can't wait to be part of the solution...

Helen said...

Interesting times, certainly. I'm not sure about the whole absentee voting thing .... how do they distinguish between people who never intend to return to SA and those who are just out of the country temporarily? But I do hope the necessary changes come about. The country deserves to succeed.

imac said...

What a wonderful sunset.
About traveling, all I can say is If you can pay for it then go, life is for enjoyment and seeing as much as poss - (this is my thoughts - when you start getting past the 60 mark the thinking takes a different