The excitement, disinterest and annoyance surrounding the 2014 elections has died down. The sms’s are infrequent and the call to the youth has all but died down. In the post-election 2014 haze of confusion, I ask “did we f&*k it up”?
Whether you were the first in line or you used May 7th to catch up on some shut-eye, the question applies to us all. Did those of us who rose to the challenge and dealt with queues of KFC proportions f&*k it up by putting our ‘x’ in the wrong box? And did the rest f&*k up their chance to have a major say in the real issues that affect nearly every part of their lives in this country by abstaining? Staying away from it all doesn’t necessarily make the issues that they face go away.
Where did the youth vote go?
The topic of many a campaign speech, “youth” was a term thrown around almost as much as “20 years of democracy” has been this year. Targeted mainly because we make up the majority, our ‘x’ was highly coveted this past May. Stats aside, there are A LOT of people under the age of 30 in South Africa. Many of them had registered to vote and this race (the election race) is always about the numbers. Conversely, there are people who are old enough to vote but simply choose to stay away on election day. That number has grown since 1994 and now counts millions of South Africans. Out of the 25 Million people registered to vote; just over 18 million showed up and voted while 252 274 spoiled their ballots. Seeing as we can only tell how many people registered, we can never really know where the youth vote went.
Assumedly, the EFF and DA won some of the ANC’s youth and black urban supporter base over. EFF’s economic and education policies appeal highly to the youth. The DA put it’s black foot [red face] forward in order to draw in people who may have ended up seeing that they could belong in a party like that but who is to say majority of the youth didn’t just choose to stay away on the day?
Different things matter to people in our age group. Namely:
The fight for economic freedom. Education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities are all things that we would like to see addressed. Our future depends on it. Even though we pass all the necessary grades, without further education and training, there are barely any employers out there that will hire us and pay us enough to support ourselves. We get educated but we have no jobs to go to. We start businesses but support structures remain few and far between in comparison to the demand for assistance.
The need for new alliances in this democracy. The youth may feel that they need some young blood that sees things from their perspective. Some young voters didn’t exactly decide according to familial/historical loyalty. They may have discovered a new kid on the block that spoke to the very concerns that were eating away at them.
The feeling that their needs are not being met despite the scores of promises. Yes, there have been great policies put in place by government and the youth haven’t been completely ignored but unemployment is still high and the quality of our education remains questionable. As things currently stand for us, what has been done is not enough. It is just a start and it is about time that they step up their efforts. We are not ungrateful, we just aren’t prospering. It is with this list of concerns and issues in mind that we need to ask if we f&*ked it up. Some think it’s too early to ask such a question but then again, the cracks in parties and parliaments have already started to show….
I am not trying to make you think like me, I am just trying to make you think. Sound off on my twitter @Kay_Tatyana
The #2014Elections have set an exciting and vibrant context for the future of South Africa politics to unfold upon. What happens now that you’ve voted? How do we gauge whether we’re “moving the country forward”, whether we’re “bringing change” or “economic freedom in our lifetime”? Stick with #LiveVIPZA and we’ll give you analysis, debates, comments, polls and all YOU need to understand, enjoy and interact with SA politics.