The ACTIVATE! Network making democracy work

A country to end up in ruins does not happen because of an accident or bad luck, this undesired situation is visited upon a country because ordinary men and women let things slide. South Africans cannot then afford to find itself in this situation and we, as Activators across the country must never allow this beautiful country to get to this point.

For many years our history as a people has been cloaked by tales of warrior men and women who never took for granted their solemn duty to protect and safeguard their lives to build a better future for themselves and the generations to follow. The recent march for the removal of President Jacob Zuma re-affirmed the accepted belief that indeed South Africa is a great country to live in because democracy always reigns supreme and is respected. For the past 22 years since the attainment of freedom, democracy as a principle has widely been accepted as a tool to measure the functioning of a country and South Africa is no exception to this notion.

Democracy in South Africa is still a relatively new concept and it remains a work in progress for us as a nation. Resolution 18/6 adopted by the Human Rights Council states “democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social, and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.” (The Human Rights Council. 2011)

Democracy as a concept alone cannot thrive without the active participation of those who seek to build a truly prosperous country in making it work. As Activators, the obligation to ensure that our South African democracy develops, matures and works for the entirety of the populace is much heavier. This obligation is much heavier on us as Activators because we emanate from communities where the majority of its inhabitants remain hopeful that the fruits of democracy like economic emancipation, poverty alleviation, land redistribution and better health care will eventually be their reality.

As Activators, we must make democracy effectively work for the people of South Africa and specifically the disempowered members of the communities we live in and come from, everyday of our lives the rallying call summoning us to the front lines of constructing a better world must be that of service to the people. The creativity we display in the work we do in our private spaces, the wealth of networks we continue to create in business, political spaces and social spacesactivate we find ourselves in should serve as resource tools in our journey to construct a prospering country.

The ACTIVATE! cohort is in a great position as change drivers in their communities due to the wealth of resources they possess amongst each other and beyond the network. We are fortunate that through the network, cross-engagements and collaboration, many high profile platforms have had the fortunate presence of Activators. These platforms include but are not limited to the launch of the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa, the South African Youth Parliament and the prestigious observer status during the South African Local Government Election in August 2016. All these democratic platforms the ACTIVATE! network found occupying which are aimed at building a better and prosperous South Africa for all it’s people should inspire many more of us in the network to want to do more.

The ACTIVATE! network continues to grow every year and this inherently should translate into the growth of the impact the network should and must have in the country. Our duty as young activists is to secure the future now in this democracy so that the many people who died for it cannot be in vain. Together holding hands in our different provinces across the country, in our big and small towns and the rural areas, we shall leave no citizen behind to realise the grand ideals which should accompany the dawn of democracy.

As we leave the training sessions, as we connect on Facebook and on Twitter, as we meet in various physical spaces where Activators are, we must continue to drive the message of change and to put in practice the famous ice breaker song of ACTIVATE! during training sessions  “Le ACTIVATE! abaya-ziyo abazange bayibona” loosely meaning this “ACTIVATE! that they do not know, they shall see it,”   and see it they shall through our action in our communities to build a better and prosperous South Africa.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Themba Vryman is a social activist and writes in his personal capacity as a member of the ACTIVATE! Network.

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