To vote or not to vote, young people in Cape Town share their thoughts
by: Live Staff - 1 August 2016
In the lead up to the local elections, we’ve visited five municipalities in Cape Town to poll the views of young people. We’ve gathered some telling and moving sentiments from about 20 young people. Like Lenore Michaels, who told us why she doesn’t want her kids to grow up in Blikkiesdorp. And these heartbreaking words from Andrea Hanekom, from an informal settlement in Monte Vista: “I wish for a better environment where we are not treated like dogs because we are homeless.” Below are some more of the most emotive responses. Also look out for more on our social media platforms.
Written by Tatum-lee Louw | Photography by Onele Liwani and Elzane Campher
Blikkiesdorp was established as a temporary relocation area in 2007 by the City of Cape Town. But nine years later, it is still home to about 30 000 people who are yet to be moved from what was meant to be their temporary home.
“If only the municipality can spend a night here and see what happens”
“I registered, but I’m not sure that I will vote, because nothing ever happens when people vote. If I do vote, who do I vote for? I’ve been living here for eight years. Come and spend a night here, it’s dangerous, especially for girls. Many of my friends who stay here didn’t complete school. If only the municipality can spend a night here and see what happens.” – Candice Pedro (19)
“I want a better future”
“I registered and I must vote. I’ve been here for three years now and I know voting will make a difference. I want a better future. No vote, no houses. Just look at how people live here.” – Ashley Daniels (28)
Read more responses from Blikkiesdorp here
Written by Xoliswa Qoni | Photography by Onele Liwani and Elzane Campher
Many of the homeless people in the an informal settlement in Monte Vista had been evicted there several times when we visited the area in June. There are about 11 families in this area who survive from temporary domestic and gardening work for the people living around the area. Some beg to make ends meets.
“I would vote for Malema because he is fighting for the people to get back the land”
“The reason I stay here is because my parents died. I do have an ID but I didn’t register. Hopefully, there will be another chance to register. I would vote for Malema because he’s fighting for the people to get back the land. We are not going anywhere because we are also South Africans who were born here so why are we excluded? To us what is important is survival and to have food on the table. We don’t mind not having fancy things, as long as I’m alive I’m happy.” – Neville Witbooi (33)
“I wish for a better environment where we are not treated like dogs because we are homeless”
“I’m not registered because I was not aware of the registering dates. But I’m hoping they will be open again because it will be my first time voting. I wish for a better environment where we are not treated like dogs because we are homeless. Some accuse us of committing crime but we are not criminals. We just work and scrape the bins of white people around the area for food,” – Andrea Hanekom (18)
Read more responses from Monte Vista here
Written by Xoliswa Qoni | Photography by Bulelani Mvotho
When we went to Dunoon in April, residents had attempted to occupy a piece of land that belonged to a private farmer. This was a way of expressing their unhappiness with the slow process of them getting proper housing. They also burnt tyres on the roads and destroyed a MyCity bus station.
“We share a small number of toilets and they are always dirty and blocked”
“I voted in the last elections due to the excitement I had because it was my first time voting. I’m not voting in the upcoming elections, because all the promises that were made last time I voted were never implemented. I would be happy If our current councillor would get fired because he’s not doing his job at all. I also feel like he doesn’t understand the challenges faced by people staying in Dunoon because he is not from here. We share a small number of toilets and they’re always dirty and blocked.” – Yonelisa Keisa (21)
“I feel there is no party at the moment that can fully represent me”
“I didn’t vote because I was not eligible to vote since I was under age. I won’t vote in the upcoming elections [because] I don’t see any type of progress in this area, and there is too much racism and inequality here in Cape Town. I feel there’s no party at the moment that can fully represent me. And our government is corrupt and is getting worse by the day. Lastly, our current councillor is not doing his job that I think it’s about time we got a new one.’’ – Samkelo Nzuzo (19)
Read more responses from Dunoon here
Written by Xoliswa Qoni | Photography by Onele Liwani
Three years ago, Cape Town backyard dwellers occupied a vacant piece of privately-owned land and named it Marikana, in solidarity with the miners who were killed at Lonmin mine. The area has grown since, despite residents having been evicted several times by the City of Cape Town.
“I was shocked by electricity, and I thank God I’m alive”
“I voted in the last elections because I felt like it’s a norm and a must. I will definitely vote in the upcoming municipal elections. However, I would love for government to give us legally connected electricity because we have illegal connections and we are aware of the dangers. I was shocked by electricity, and I thank God I’m alive because some have died due to this.” – Lizo Njomba (27)
“ I did vote in the last elections, and I will vote again in the upcoming elections”
“I grew up being told that if you don’t vote you won’t be included in government service delivery like getting a job, government grants and housing. That pushed me to vote. I did vote in the last elections, and I will vote again in the upcoming elections. I’m currently looking for a job and I want that sticker on my identity book in case a potential employer asks if I took part in the elections. I know it’s too soon to wish for services here at Marikana since it’s a new community. At the moment we have water, electricity (obtained illegally) and toilets are being built, so I’m not complaining for now.” – Mkhuseli Nqwenani (27)
Read more responses from Marikana here
Are you going to vote on August 3? Let us know why or why not in the comments section or on social media.