The fifth Elections to be held in South Africa since the end of apartheid era in 1994, will take place on the seventh of May 2014. The first party that led South Africans after the apartheid was ANC which promoted democracy throughout South Africa. People lived happily because late Nelson Mandela (former president) provided the ruling that encouraged no discrimination amongst the citizens, freedom of speech and the rights to respect one another.

Globally, it has been noted that youths make up a large portion of the population in every country. According to UN, “youth” describes a person between the ages of fifteen and twenty five. Due to the fact that youths make up a large proportion of voters in South Africa, it is of paramount importance to understand their feelings about voting and the democracy provided by the ruling state. This is an indication to show the power held by the youths in influencing the direction the nation is taking.

They are therefore a very important aspect in this year’s elections.

Technological improvement has made it easy for our youth to express their feelings about the election issues through the use of social media, online news sites and mobile technologies. Data from the Independent indicates that ‘born frees’ have little interest in this year’s voting because of the virtue that they were born after the apartheid era (1994). Young people have a huge opportunity in influencing South Africa’s political scenery.

Manifestos are there to be read but that is not a sufficient stance for the youths to decide which party to vote for. They feel their vote doesn’t change anything, but they are only used as a tool for a certain party to get into power. “Their promises just end on the day we cast our votes on the ballot box, because what they promise they don’t deliver,” said Emmah Rafoz.

Understanding the role played by the youths in the political process is vital because it helps in seeing the future stability and the growth of democracies throughout Africa. However, many African political leaders utilize the youth’s voting for their own political agendas. As a result it discourages the youth to cast their vote because they feel as outcasts to fit into place of formal democratic process. The major reason of those not voting is that they feel nothing will change no-matter who wins because it’s only theoretical and unemployment rate among the youths is growing each and every day.
On the other hand most political parties have realised the need to have youth structures that encourages young people to be active in the political processes. This is witnessed by how most parties engage with the youth in the social networks platforms such as face book and twitter, thus, encouraging them to vote and also understanding their views about the political process. “…it is young people like you…who are going to shape the elections…and the future of this country,” said Lindiwe Mazibuko MP DA’s Parliamentary Leader addressing the youths about the upcoming elections.
Happy voting South Africa, it is only you who can make the change in this country!

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