The “#” has become a powerful symbol that has gone far beyond just tracking Twitter trends. It has given young people an alternative way to take part in politics and make an impact. Through online activism, they have found a way to shift agendas, and forced themselves into national discourse, in addition to claiming their space in real world events.
We take this further with #2X. A campaign that allows any young person anywhere in the country the opportunity to mobilise others and confront any given issue and get a response from the relevant local municipality representatives. The internet and digital media have grown more impactful to young people as a tool to shift South Africa’s political agenda and represent themselves generally, changing the political game for young people.
By amplifying the agenda-setting impact of the “#”, we have the power to generate the kind of political pressure that will make the “X”, which symbolises “formal democracy”, a more meaningful representation of the youth’s will.
As a data-gathering tool, the #2X portal aggregates content and commentary from Twitter, Whatsapp, USSD and blogs onto a single interface that gives users a real time visual representation of what young people are talking about in their own communities around the country. When the Voting Is Power (VIP) campaign came to life in 2014, it did so against the backdrop of the view that young people are irredeemably apathetic. We were the lost generation. Apparently. Fast forward just two years and the same group has proven to be the country’s primary agents of change. Confounding most quarters of society as they have gone along, young people have effectively changed the language, tone and focus of social justice and rejected terms such as “born-free” out of a need to define themselves on their own terms.
#Feesmustfall, #Rhodesmustfall and other such movements have reconfigured the dominant notions and narratives that define politics in the imagination of young South Africans. Politics is no longer seen as the preserve of Jacob Zuma and Mmusi Maimane, but as the personal struggles that define our everyday lives; making the Zumas more accountable to the agenda of the people.
While youth confidence in institutions is in freefall, digital and real world interventions such as online activism and demonstrations are proving to be the go to platforms for uncensored political expression. Defined by VIP as “alternative” democratic engagement, this the form of innovative democratic intervention we believe has undeniable potential to generate enough political energy that may make voting, or democratic engagement, more meaningful to young people.
Now, to start your movement, tweet or update your status using #2X to get your local community on the agenda.
Don’t like social media? Text us on whatsapp using +2776 068 4449 to start your conversation.
Take your power to the polls.