Lauretta Ngcobo


This month I voted for the first time to choose my own government in South Africa. The exercise of this belated right, when it came, left me numb. Throughout that day I experienced a pause, both of mind and feeling. I have lived in exile for 31 years. Years charged with a restlessness that would not leave me; preoccupied variously with a sense of loss; a loss of country, of friends and relations, of language, and to some degree, a loss of self. So, on the 26th of April 1994, I paused to look back on the years spent in deficiency. However, this could not last for long, for the occasion did not belong to the past, but to the future. The next few days flowed like glue as the whole world waited with baited breath for the results, even though it was a foregone conclusion that the ANC would win. I waited with the world, tense and fearful that the worst, in the form of internecine violence, might yet follow the elections. When South Africa and the world could not wait any longer, the results were declared anyhow. And no one complained about the drawing board results. On the contrary, everyone was satisfied. Well, that is, if you overlooked all the irregularities. Nobody does things quite like South Africans.



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