These are the personal stories of what voting means to everyday Zimbabweans. Each edition of My Vote Zimbabwe features one person’s story in his or her own words. There’s no presenter, no interviewer – nothing to get in the way of their most memorable moments at the ballot box. Yolanda first voted when she was 19 and at university. She recalls, a bit sheepishly, the criteria she and her friends used to select their student council candidate: his looks. Today, three years later, she has different criteria…
Yolanda; My vote
My name is Yolanda, I’m 22 yrs old and I’m from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. I was 19 years old when I voted for the very first time. We were voting for the SRC.
My friends were voting, that’s what drove me to vote
In the queue when we were voting the candidates pictures were posted on the wall. As we looked at the posters we were laughing. We were picking at all the candidates, giving them points. We were ranking them and rating them and making fun of them. This is 1/10, this is 4/10, this 9/10.
Oh man I think the candidate that made us laugh had the biggest nose and he had big ears also at the same time. He was kinda like a caricature to us, we were laughing at him, we were picking at it and making fun of it.
Then we saw another poster of this handsome candidate. So he had this nice curly hair, beautiful skin, and his eyes, I think his eye made him unique, made him handsome. His face made the whole poster light up.
When a guy is handsome its easy for girls to get swayed. I was there in the queue with my friends and we all voted for him coz he was handsome. I believe none of my friends cheated but we all told each other we’re going to vote for this guy.
From my point of view he was handsome. I can’t say I had a crush. It was just that oooh, he’s handsome. We talked about it together b4 we voted, ‘Guys we cant have him ok, so we’re going to vote for him.
After I cast my vote for the good looking guy I realised he wasn’t the candidate I should have voted for. When I saw the other candidates, coz some of the other candidates had won, and they were actually doing something for us. So I just realised we made a mistake, we just voted for a face and he was actually doing nothing.
I was supposed to vote for a person who’s going to air my views. Who’s going to enlarge my voice, a person who was going to be of service to me, and I realised his face wasn’t going to be of service to me.
The other candidates had better policies, they had great manifestos, they knew the problems that students were encountering, but I was ignorant my friends were ignorant. We didn’t vote for them.
If I ever see a good looking candidate again, I won’t be swayed by his face, but I’m going to look at what the person is about. How is he going to serve me. I’m going to look at his party, where he’s coming from, read about them and know about them what they are. How are they going to help me, so that I can make an informed decision than before.
Even if he looks like Will Smith, I won’t vote for him, I won’t be swayed by the face. Even if he’s tall, is a hunk, no. That is how I’m going to cast my vote next time,
I’m voting for a better me, and a better country.
Hey! You can listen to Yolanda here
And, if you want to share your voting story get in touch with Shaun Matsheza at Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Email Shaun at: shaun.matsheza [at] rnw [dot] nl