Young People’s Aspirations Broken By Despondency, Can Change Happen In 2024 General Elections? – By Lebogang Ditsebe

Young People’s Aspirations Broken By Despondency, Can Change Happen In 2024 General Elections?

By: Lebogang Ditsebe

It is not far-fetched to describe the participation of young people in South Africa’s democracy as being low and poor. This is a result of youth in South Africa losing hope in the democratic processes. This has led many to be inactive towards active citizenry. A lack of active citizenry amongst the youth is concerning given that young people are meant to usher us into the future and add a vibrant and healthy democracy.

Young people in South Africa must and should contest for influential and strategic positions in local government to effect change in all spheres of society. In my experience as one of the volunteers for Build One South Africa, I have come to the realisation that many young people have lost interest in the direction in which South Africa is headed and do not believe that after 30 years of our liberation social ills such as: Youth unemployment, load-shedding, poverty, lack of access to quality education and institutional challenges with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) being the hot topic at the moment whereby youth from poor and marginalised backgrounds are struggling to get funding for their studies and free recreational facilities for sports in the township can be fixed because of what they have seen or experienced.

In my opinion, the above are a significant contributor to the drastic decline in voter registration which leads to hopelessness and despondency among the youth. At the moment, youth unemployment and lack of access to opportunities to participate in an economy for their sustainability have also caused major social unrest – leading to young people falling into the trap of escapism with drugs, substances and alcohol abuse. This further deteriorates the quality of the society we are all desiring to live in.

Up to this point, the African National Congress (ANC), being the ruling party in national government, has been making promises which have not yet materialised. Officials of the party have been allegedly focusing on enriching and empowering their families and themselves. The Zondo Commission of Enquiry on corruption allegations levelled against key politicians, who occupy strategic positions in government, highlighting the deep-rooted challenges of corruption that are prevalent in our country. So far, it seems like the tools that were meant to alleviate the pain and suffering of people on grassroots levels were abused.

Since the alarming by the commission and as we head to the polls in 2024,  basic living conditions of South Africans have worsened, as every day road users need to manoeuvre themselves against potholes. Workers have to guard the lives of their families and themselves against rampant crime which is a daily reality in the country and our communities.

It is my view that 2024 is our 1994 as we have a date with destiny for the sake of our future as the youth, and our call to action has to be that we have to see challenges as opportunities for being active citizens who are agents of change. This is to persuade one another to make a difference with what we have in our hands, and that is the power of the ballot. It is time we voted wisely, with our hearts, and not with our stomachs.


About the author:

Lebogang Ditsebe is a 2018 Activator from Kimberley Northern Cape, who is a member of the A! Writers Hub. He believes that change can happen when we gather together to shape the narrative. He is a speaker and a facilitator.

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