A fun look at South African voting

A book that takes a light-hearted look at politics, co-written by a Tamboerskloof resident, was launched at the Waterfront last week.

The writers of Spoilt Ballots, Matthew Blackman of Tamboerskloof, and Nick Dall of Tokai, released Rogue’s Gallery (the history of corruption in South Africa) last year, and while the new book follows the path of corruption, its spotlight is on voting.

From left are Matthew Blackman and Nick Dall in conversation with Marianne Thamm at the book launch.

“It’s about the corruption of what kept people away from the poles and the sort of racism involved in that and that’s an act of corruption in many ways too, an act of how to hold power and how a minority managed to hold on to power, and they did it through corrupt means, so we look at corruption from a different kind of lens,” says Mr Blackman.

He adds that they have injected their humour into a book about what is usually a serious matter for South Africans.

“It shouldn’t feel like a history lesson, it shouldn’t be dense and heavy, it should be interesting and entertaining to read,” he says.

Mr Dall says a history teacher has reached out to them to speak to high school pupils about their findings.

“We didn’t realise it but we cover the Grade 10 to 12 history syllabus, well most of it in this book. And why history students will enjoy it is because it will make them laugh, keep them entertained and it will get them to read the next page. We make a lot of jokes in the book,” said Mr Dall.

He adds that South African politics, past and present, is not a subject that should bore anyone. The book includes information about voting from the time of Shaka Zulu in the 18th century, the 1948 elections as well as the ousting of Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC in the 2017 elections at Nasrec.

“We think that history has something to teach you about today and tomorrow. If you don’t know where you came from, how do you know where you going?

“We also think there is something wrong with the way history is done. It can be seen as something that is boring but in this crazy country we have the most insane history you can imagine, you cannot be bored,” he says.