My X matters

Political parties should be held to their promises, but we should also be asking the right questions. When you made your mark, how did you effect change this election season?

While it is equally important for us – the voters – to have made our mark next to a political party that we feel will address our socio-economic issues, we need these parties to stick to the promises they made during their electoral campaign.

Every election year all the political parties campaign across the country for our support and vote, promising us a better life for all. They’re all saying the same thing. They promise jobs that they’ve been promising since 1994. And houses.

Our current president promised a million houses in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Everyone is promising land, and the funniest promise is fighting corruption. The sad part is that, 25 years after the dawn of our democracy, there’s a lot to be done and the basic necessities are still a dream to the poorest of the poor – the majority of South African voters.

How is it that no one is talking about focusing on empowerment especially for youth with disabilities, young men who are doing drugs, are unemployed and still fathering new babies? Why is there no approach and drive against having children when you cannot afford it and when you are a child yourself? Why are politicians quiet about that?

One party spoke about creating jobs for persons with disabilities. I laughed because, unless organisations and persons with disabilities are consulted, they will continue to create “learnership” programmes that only target the youth. Most people who are 35 years and older struggle to find permanent employment.

Why is no political party talking about creating ways of dealing with mental health challenges in the country? Mental health is a national disaster! So many people suffer from depression and other mental health issues. We need a long-term approach that is intertwined with addressing powerlessness coming from poverty and lack of jobs.

My X is my weapon. My X is my truth.


Emilie Olifant is a disability activist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is the director of the Emilie Olifant Foundation, an organisation that strives to address socio-economic issues experienced by people with disabilities. email:

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