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Democracy Gauge: Michael December

We take you back to the 27th of April 1994, when millions of South Africans voted for the first time since the fall of apartheid. But one man, Michael December, was still incarcerated when Nelson Mandela was democratically elected as South Africa's first black president. He only received a political pardon in 2015. Michael recalls how those who were jailed celebrated when they were told that they could vote for the first time.

Democracy Gauge: Quinton Faro

Quinton Faro (45) was born in Barrydale and was raised in the karoo and in part in Cape Town. Faro says he always felt that he wanted to come back to the karoo because “I am a child of the Karoo” he say

Democracy Gauge: Katriena Esau

Katriena Esau (85) admits that her life has not been easy… However she says it seems like things are starting to look up. Esau enjoys to keep busy with teaching her children her language. She has a desire that her language shouldn’t die out.

“I hope God will allow my to live to see my language being saved, for it to live on. One day when I day I hope that the language will be known,” says Esau.

Democracy Gauge: Nazir Osman

Businessman Nazir Osman runs a business that manufactures lollipops and other sweets.

the business exports to about fourteen countries, with their flagship brand being Stumbo. – one of the biggest selling pops in the country.

Osman says democracy has opened new doors. His sweet manufacturing business grew, as he harnessed the opportunities he once had no access to.

Democracy Gauge: Brian Mahlangu

In the shadow of the Marlboro Gautrain station, in the heart of one of South Africa’s most affluent regions, the cardboard and hardwood shacks of Setswetla informal settlement stand in stark contrast to the mansions of its neighboring suburb of Sandton.

Situated on the banks of the Jukskei River, the informal settlement is a boiling pot of cultures, ethnicities and nationalities. Community leader Brian Mahlangu spoke to SABC News about life in Setswetla since the dawn of the democracy.

Democracy Gauge: Handsome Khumalo

19-year-old Ngobe Handsome Khumalo lives on the streets of Durban. And democracy, he says, hasn’t done anything for him. Khumalo was raised in Waterloo in Verulam. The thing that made him end up in the streets is drugs, heroin. He started smoking drugs when I was still young.

Democracy Gauge: MaDingaan Loraine Pemvana

MaDingaan Pemvana (63) from Bloemfontein has to walk 2 kilometers every week to sell recycled material to make a living. Pemvana receives pension money and says it does not meet all her basic needs. Pemvana stays at Lusaka Square at my mother's place, she had her own place but after her husband was killed she decided to leave and after her mother asked her to come live there.

Pemvana remains optimistic about the country, she says things are getting better “I'd love to see South Africa remaining this way or even becoming better than this because we live better now than during apartheid.”

Democracy Gauge: Faldielah Gamieldien

Faldielah Gamieldien (50) from Grassy Park has been working on Adderley Street since the age of 15 – where she sells flowers. Gamieldien took up this job because her mother had to work alone for 9 children. “It wasn’t easy, so I had to leave school,” she says.

Gamieldien says she is ashamed of what South Africa has become. And because of this she wants no association with the current government, and even to a large extent the country.

“I am a citizen of the flower market, not from South Africa,” she says.

Democracy Gauge: George Mbathu

A former North West police officer, based in Klerksdorp, who was allegedly suspended from his duty in 1991, is still struggling to get his suspension lifted, 28 years later. The man says, he has knocked virtually on all doors, and seemingly, no one is prepared to listen. He says, at the dawn of democracy in 1994, he was optimistic, his problem, would be resolved, but says, his hopes were soon, dashed, when those in authority, also turned their backs against him.

George Mbathu, contends that, since his suspension, in 1991, he was never accorded a departmental inquiry, which is required by law, when a SAPS member is suspended. As far as he is concerned, he is still on suspension, and ought to be reinstated, since he has not been found guilty of any offence by the SAPS.

'There are gains yet, there's still some work to do'

Masilo Machaka is an avid Kaizer Chiefs, Bafana Bafana, Proteas, and Springbok supporter and a recognisable face in the stands.

Machaka can often be seen on our TV screens, singing and dancing during football, cricket and rugby matches.  A passionate sports fan, who hails from Botlokwa in the Limpopo province.

After matriculating, Machaka came to Johannesburg seeking better opportunities and greener pastures.

He says soon after his arrival in Johannesburg he discovered that there were vast opportunities in the sporting world.  “Back then I was supporting Kaizer Chiefs and I was only supporting football as rugby and cricket was not our thing as black people. After arriving in Joburg and realising there are opportunities in other sporting codes, I decided to venture into sports that's why I am also supporting cricket and rugby."

He reckons that while strides have been during the country’s democracy there are gains yet, there's still some work to do.

10 episodes