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2019 Elections

Top survival tips for election queues

Top survival tips for election queues
South African voters in Diepsloot informal settlement near Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, 14, April 2004. Photo: EPA/HALDEN KROG

So, it’s election eve. The day millions of South Africans have been waiting for is a sunrise away, but there is more waiting ahead. Before you cast your vote, first you must survive the long queue before the ballot. But worry not, Daily Maverick has your back.

Speaking to Daily Maverick, people shared their own experiences and survival tips which would be helpful to take heed of, especially if you are a first-time voter.

  1. Wake up EARLY-ishLet’s face it, no one likes to be an early bird but, as the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm” and in this instance, the worm is the ballot paper. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid any line is to wake up before the voting station opens (hint: it opens at 7am). One issue, however, you may come up against is that everyone will probably have the same logic, so you should probably follow our other tips.
  1. Stay hydrated Your Johannesburg weather forecast for tomorrow is a maximum temperature of 22°C, which is relatively speaking, a hot autumn day. To avoid the scorching sun and that forehead drip, it’s best to bring an umbrella and stock up on a big bottle of cold water. “Last time I voted I waited two hours,” said Jacolene Hindle-Nel. Then again, it’s going to be raining in Cape Town, so take an umbrella there, as well … wherever you are, consult the weather forecast.
  1. Bring a chair Standing in any line is annoying generally, and so is the actual time that you have to spend waiting,” said Christiaan Kritzinger. Need we say more.
  1. Bring Sunscreen Waiting in a line is dreadful enough, waiting in a line in the sun is even worse and that’s the general agreement among some of the voters who have voted more than once. So the tip that they most recommend is making sure that if you are not coming early, you lather yourself up in sunscreen. Unless you are in Cape Town …
  1. Keep your phone charged Social media is one of the best ways to pass time and keep yourself entertained, besides avoiding small talk while on the wait. “I’ll have my phone with me, take pictures and Tweet,” said Mzikayise Jele.
  1. Take turns standing in line Praylene Bremner says that her strategic plan for standing in line is to take turns with her husband. “One hour I will go watch the kids and he will be in line and another hour he will be here because I don’t want to bring my kids,” said Bremner.
  1. Good conversation starters are key! If you are an awkward person who suffers from social anxiety then random people coming up to you could be a little nerve-wracking, but it could happen, especially if you are waiting in line for more than an hour. But there are a few things you need to remember if people come up to you or if you go up to them. Don’t ask people who they are voting for and don’t expect people to be friendly if you do ask them. Hindle-Nel says that the best conversation starter is commenting on someone’s shoes or handbag. “So that is always nice and from there you will automatically find that everyone has a story,” said Hindle-Nel. For someone who usually doesn’t start conversations with people, you get to pick up on interesting things from eavesdropping. “I generally, don’t really have any conversation, what’s interesting is people striking up a conversation moaning about how long it is taking, the state of the government. Even though it’s supposed to be an exciting event people are generally quite negative,” said Christiaan Kritzinger.

    8. Bring a book, yes we said it, BRING A BOOK. If you can bring a chair, why not pull out a book. Go through some pages of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s new book, Gangster State…after a while conversations can get a little over-rated and feel tedious, as does scrolling through social media.

9. If not, you could just become a Daily Maverick Insider Wink, wink … DM


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