St John's College

As South Africa prepares for the national elections on 29 May, St John's College is ‘conscientising’ its students about the significance of being part of the democratic process.

Broadcast journalist and Old Johannian Aubrey Masango (Clayton 1990), well known for his insightful social and political commentary, joined Amphitheatre to address our students on the importance of voting and its critical role in shaping the nation's future.

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Picture: Kamogelo Thobejane (LV Nash)

St John’s College holds a special place in my heart. Those who tune in to my radio broadcasts know this well, as I often speak fondly of this institution. It’s where my thoughts and approach to life were moulded. On a day like today, thirty years ago, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa amid a surge of hope and anticipation for a brighter future.

Back then, South Africa was emerging from a dark era of apartheid, a system that not only dehumanised those it oppressed but also distorted the self-perception of its enforcers. It entrenched mindsets that lingered long after apartheid officially ended, seeping into our daily interactions, work environments, and societal structures.

The post-apartheid journey has been about excavating these deep-seated biases and redefining our national ethos. We embraced a constitutional democracy, a system founded on human rights and the rule of law. This meant moving away from arbitrary power and towards governance that was accountable to the people. However, we must acknowledge that our progress has not been without challenges.

Issues like economic disparities, corruption, and governance inefficiencies still plague us. We have allowed a few to exploit loopholes, entering positions of power with personal agendas rather than serving the nation. As a generation born into this transformative era, we must step up and hold our leaders accountable.

The upcoming elections on 29 May are a pivotal moment. They are a chance for each eligible citizen to exercise their democratic right responsibly. It’s not just about casting a vote; it’s about shaping the future of our home, South Africa. Your one vote matters—it’s a contribution to a collective voice for progress and accountability.

Some may choose not to vote, and that’s a personal decision. However, understanding the stakes is crucial. Our complacency today could lead to challenges tomorrow that affect us all. We must guard against tyranny and oppression by actively participating in the democratic process.

Hope for a better tomorrow rests on our actions today. Let’s honour the legacy of those who fought for freedom by engaging in shaping a future where every South African can thrive. So mark your calendars for the 29th of May—it’s not just a date but an opportunity to pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive South Africa. — Aubrey Masango (an excerpt from his address)

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Thulani Khanyile (Nash 1989), Kali Selepe (UV Hill), Aubrey Masango (Clayton 1990) and Stuart West, Executive Headmaster