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By Phumi Mtetwa 

This year has been hyped as the ‘election year’ with a number of countries observing their elections in 2024. The buzz in South Africa sounds no different with the country preparing to vote on May 29, 2024.  These elections are being touted as the most significant since 1994. But why this emphasis on their significance now? Why weren’t the elections five years ago deemed as crucial? These questions linger, prompting deeper reflection.

The narrative underlying this build-up seems to stem from the ANC’s (African National Congress) failure over the past three decades to uphold and fulfil the dreams and promises since 1994. These dreams, for me, were rooted in the vision of transitioning from our turbulent past to the complete liberation of all the people in South Africa.

Beyond participatory democracy and parliamentary representation lies a broader question – what does our collective liberation project look like?

In electoral debates and manifestos, there really is not much about programmes that can respond to an anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal models; nothing on a feminist-socialist vision that centres the care of peoples and nature. The ‘speaks’ on the economy suggest accommodating ourselves within frameworks designed to still favour capital. A project of dismantling that returns to ideals lost when South Africa negotiated in the early 90s is one to be revisited. We cannot accept that the ship has sailed, we have to regain the spirit that accompanied the struggle against colonisation to remember what is worth fighting for in the Africa of the 21st century.

As activists across various marginalised groups, there is an invitation for us to move and show up differently. Beyond the elections, lies the opportunity to collectively shape a liberation project that resonates and reflects the aspirations of all in South Africa.

Let us take this moment to create a path towards a shared vision of liberation, one that goes beyond party-politics and ensures we all contribute towards a future where we don’t have the material conditions of people in tatters. Time to organise for true LIBERATION!!

Photo credit: Olympia De Maismont/AFP via Getty Images

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