Jennie Ridyard
2 minute read
12 Jul 2021
7:02 am

My old history teacher did a certain amount of vote-spoiling

Jennie Ridyard

With each X, I recall the people denied this right, the people who fought for my right, and I think of my former history teacher too.

Picture: Erasmus Nche/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As elections loom, as “register now” posters appear on broken lamp-posts, I have a memory. In the year I turned 16 – back in the 80s – a new history teacher started at school. (Hello Mr Howarth!) Back then history was a minefield. I suppose it still is. We learned about the Great Trek, Racheltjie de Beer, Dick King, Jan Smuts, Zulu wars, Boer wars, World Wars, Mao Tse-Tung (or maybe I dreamt that), the National Party, and we even studied that desperate gasp of apartheid which was the tricameral parliament – at the time not so much history as...