There are advantages to living in the outer 'burbs. Our local voting station serves a place where houses are large and streets not as densely-populated as some others. We were in and out of the voting station in 5 minutes today, appropriately marked with indelible ink (which has turned from blue to black and is definitely not going anywhere).
The rest of the day has involved a bit of trekking here and there for customer support, which gave us an eyeful of what's going on at other voting stations.
At the Town Hall in the main road, the queue is pretty long. As is the one at a local primary school and a church on the other side of town. Which is actually a very good thing - the voters are out in force. Unlike Australia, it's not compulsory for everyone to vote, but this year it seems there's a decent turnout.
15 years down the line from the "New South Africa", anything could happen - the current government have had a chance to prove themselves, the excitement of new democracy has worn off and reality set in. 15 years ago a majority of our population voted for the first time in force - today many of those same guys are apathetic and not planning to.
There are officially 40 parties on the ballot paper. 40 choices, some of them very new, some of them well established. There's the Cape Party (whose posters went up mere days ago), the ongoing battle between the DA and the ANC for this area, and all sorts of other parties who have pockets of supporters (or supporters in their pockets?). Many are still camgaigning at the boundaries of the polling stations, beyond which the law does not allow them to go. And as is the style in Africa, accusations of rigging, fraud and "he poked me first" political whinging are being flung around in grand style by all.
I've been keeping an eye on the TV coverage, but so far no vote counts are in. Polls close at 9 tonight, they should get going soon.
It feels like there's change in the air. Perhaps not big change, but change. Whether voting for the current blokes in charge or for anyone else, people are out there making their voices heard. They're standing for hours to spend mere seconds marking off a block, because they think it's important to do so. Because they're South African, and it matters.
I think it rocks.