Hobimalala: Snap shot of a voter in Madagascar

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Correction-previously Hobimalala was cited as Raozah in this post. This has been changed as in Malagasy tradition the last name is used.

Hobimalala is very pregnant and says the baby may come “at any minute” but that did not deter her from taking her turn at the ballot queue this morning. At 23 this is the first opportunity she has had to vote, she says that she is happy about today.

It was the will of the Malagasy people to have an election and now we are making it happen

23 year old Raozah Fanoharana Hobimalala voted for the first time today
23 year old Raozah Fanoharana Hobimalala voted for the first time today

Hobimalala lives with her mother, Bakolimalala and together they run a small hair dressing salon from their house.

Raozah Fanoharana Hobimalala and her mother Bakolimalala Rafarahantanirina Patricia
Raozah Fanoharana Hobimalala and her mother Bakolimalala Rafarahantanirina Patricia

It is lunch time when they return home after voting and Hobimalala begins cooking greens and fried pork, typical Malagasy dishes.

Hobimalala cooks lunch for her family
Hobimalala cooks lunch for her family

Jean Louis Robinson, endorsed by the ousted president Marc Ravololmana, has a headquarters just round the corner from her house and his election posters paper the walls of their street. However when asked about her faith in Robinson, or any of the other candidates vying for the presidency, Hobimalala is dismissive.

Right now these politicians are using their money in the campaigns and they listen to the people but it’s to get the votes. I’m sure after the elections they won’t do anything

This family like so many Malagasies was impacted by the coup in 2009. Before 2009 Hobimalala’s husband worked for a big whole sale warehouse owned by the former president Marc Ravalomanana. It was burnt down by Andry Rajoelina’s supporters, along with other businesses that the president, a self made millionaire, had acquired. Now a bus driver Hobimalala’s husband has to juggle a precarious income.

Hobimalala talks to CCTV Africa's Karen Sunlan
Hobimalala talks to CCTV Africa’s Karen Sunlan

The hair salon also isn’t doing as well as it was. Clients have been harder to find since 2009.

The hair salon often stands empty. They used to have up to 50 clients a day.
The hair salon often stands empty. They used to have up to 50 clients a day.

Hobimalala and Bakolimalala hope that the declaration of an elected president will mean legitimacy and stability, whoever the candidate is.

We will accept whoever will be elected because it will be an official and there will be more security because it will be legal.

Though they don’t believe that any of the candidates offer a silver bullet for their problems Hobimalala and her mother are positive about what these elections will bring.

By the time my baby is voting the country will be more secure because we’ll have a president. I hope the baby will have a brighter future and for me I hope I will get a job

Hobimalala is hopeful about the future for her unborn child
Hobimalala is hopeful about the future for her unborn child

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