“I have never voted…and I don’t plan to do so in future either.”
These are the words of uttered by Tauriq Jamie, one young South African who we
can say represents the views of thousands of other young individuals in our
With South Africa’s national elections happening between April and July 2014,
this lack of engagement should be a worrying factor to all South Africans in terms
of the state of our democracy in future. Many of these “90’s generation” young
adults regard elections and politics as a waste of time with no benefit to their
needs and daily lives. One cannot help but wonder just why they are this
disconnected when it comes to their involvement in the changes and decision
making of our country.
After speaking to a group of young adults in my community they explained to me
that things that affect and have importance to them such as crime, drugs,
teenage pregnancy and unemployment are issues that are often not dealt with.
They believe their vote will not help in improving the problems that they face,
simply because they are not heard.
“People often don’t take our opinions and views seriously when we try and raise
our concerns because they see us as young and immature, so why should we
bother to vote” said Ibrahim Dada, a Cape Peninsula University of Technology
People of an older generation tend to look at those younger in disappointment.
Many of them believe that everybody has a role in the growth of our country and
that each individuals vote counts. Lemeez Daniels, a 50 year old woman said:
“change will only come about if you do your bit and use your vote. It might not
change the political party nationally, but it can determine the ruling party in your
“If you want change, you have to take action and strive for it by doing what you
can, otherwise things will always remain the same. Look at the historical events
post 1994. Our generation stood up for what we wanted and made democracy
happen. I don’t see why you can’t do the same.”
So basically what it all comes down to is this. If they feel they are not heard, they
need to raise their voices until they are. If they feel disconnected, they should
become more involved, if they are disempowered, they should find acts of
citizenship that allows them to feel more empowered.