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Democracy as a way of life June 27, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town, DA, Politics.
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This past Saturday, our family spent some time with my wife Natasha’s colleague and friend, Bongani Mnisi, his wife Lulama and their little daughter, Tisani.

Around the braai fire, Bongani and I had quite an interesting discussion around the City of Cape Town and the relationship between democracy and conservation in the city. The conversation was interesting in that he is a manager within the field, and I, of course, was talking from a DA viewpoint. He was making the point that politicians from both the ANC and DA have made democracy an ideal, instead of a way of life. He was saying that when he speaks conservation, he has to use  different terminology to people from Constantia, as opposed to people from Cafda, but not because they might have different education levels, or interest levels. It stems from the mere point that conservation means different things to people from different areas, yet we all share the bountiful splendor of the natural beauty that is Cape Town. For some of us, conservation is a means towards a better understanding of our city, but for others, conservation might be a barrier in daily survival.

And wrapped up in all of this, the discussion eventually came to the point where we debated whether democracy had just become an ideal, that is building better roads, infrastructure and housing,  or whether we should strive for it to become a way of life. Should we not be striving for our people to be exercising democracy in everything they do, including something as important (especially in the Cape Town context) as conservation? Yes, we should be building houses, bulding roads, improving social infrastructure, and creating economies of scale, but are we doing it to improve the lives of our citizens, or are we doing it to create the illusion of democracy?

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