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Brigalia Bam's Story - Democracy doesn't happen by chance
PUBLISHED: Tue, 11/14/2017

Brigalia Bam's Story Transcript (South Africa) 

In our country, when I was a young girl going to high school I didn’t know about big words like discrimination, like color bar, you know my understanding as a child was just there is something that people don’t like about us because we are black, I was... became aware that it was a racial problem.

The challenge for me of always having to prove myself. That I can do it. I can do it as a black person, I can do it as a women, in my own country.

I was driving, going to one of many voting stations where we have to meet people, the usual jobs you do, and I get this call in the car and I could tell it’s Mandela on the phone and then he said to me, I am informing you that I am making an announcement in the news for 12 o’clock that I appoint you as the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa. And I said oh, Mr. President let us talk about this and was slowing down and he said 'No, it is a decision I have made, goodbye.' And that was it.

To see South Africans, in thousands, from every village, town, township, in the line to vote, to appoint their leaders, you cannot describe the emotion of even your body, of even your smile at that time, of even your giggling you know because you are not as conscious as you would like to be, you end up being nervous you know, you combine everything.

Standing in line, you’re watching, hoping that the ink, you know this clumsy ink that in voting we put over people’s fingers. Or is it going to stick on my finger, of little, absolutely insignificant little things like that, oh yeah that ink must really stick on my finger because everybody must see that.

Imagine an adult like me showing off like me showing off my ink on my finger, isn’t that stupid, but I did. I wasn’t even thinking much about something that an adult shouldn’t be doing to show off because that was the only proof I had is my finger that is being painted we were many in that kind of mood so it’s wonderful.

Finally, we are also a nation in the world that people recognize, we are also going to talk with pride in the world, during our lifetime of creating a democratic society, and it’s wonderful I think. It’s really true, it’s wonderful.

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