By: Tlotliso May
I had the privilege of being in attendance during the Civics Academy training where ACTIVATE! partnered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Civics Academy in order to breed youth Civics Champions. The purpose of this of this training was but not limited to bringing about the importance of voting and to inspire the young people who attended this training to go and inspire their peers through a campaign such that they take part in voting. The room was filled with a lot of different voices in terms of social status, profession, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, and economic background but the one mutual thought and feeling amongst these thought leaders was their resounding “YES!” to the question on whether young people must have an active role in their freedom through voting.
It is always a very relaxing and reassuring feeling to hear young very intelligent South Africans in one room. The dominating voice in that room was one that echoed the importance of youth participation in the democratic processes that we have inherited through the fight that our grandparents fought against a system that did not allow us to have a voice. In one of the Activities, a group closed off their role play, where they had to showcase the voting process with the words “Your Vote Is Your Voice” and as cliché as this may sound, voting in this democratic dispensation is one of the few things that the people can do in order to have a say in how they want to be governed and most importantly, WHO they would be preferred to be governed by.
The discovery that shocked the participants beyond anything was one that the youth vote alone can determine the outcome of an election season. Most of the participants marveled at this because of the manner in which young people in this country are not taking part in voting. The focal reason that has is the propensity that our political parties have of promising our people things only to promise them the same things in the next voting season, but in light of the power that our young people have in determining the outcome of a voting season I believe it is worthwhile that we take part in deciding the political landscape of our country because, in the ultimate end, we inherit the decisions taken by our leaders whether or not we took part in putting or removing them from those positions of power.
The mandate has been given that Activators and other members of the said organisation must go to their respective communities and inspire young people to take part in the voting season that is nigh. The attendees were provided with resources that they would need in order to effectively hold a civic education project that will inspire those of the same age to go and take part in voting. The consensus that was reached and it was that that YOUth must vote.