SA’s black youth identifies with Malema

2009-03-07 00:00

Research has shown that the youth of this country have not fully participated in recent elections as a result of voter apathy. Among the many reasons for this is that some young people feel the political parties do not talk to them or address their issues.

It is a very diverse youth with a spectrum of needs, as some do not carry the political baggage of those who lived under apartheid.

Because of the number of young people in this country, they could swing the elections and send a very strong message about their needs and where they would like to see the country heading.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has come under fire for various comments he has made in the media as he attacks political foes across the political divide.

One of the rules of marketing is that any publicity is good publicity, while no publicity is bad publicity.

Youth formations within political parties have failed to talk to the young people of the country, let alone seriously engage them with issues that affect them or even recruit them into their structures.

Many of the youth do not even know the presidents of youth formations such as the Independent Democrats, the Democratic Alliance and the United Democratic Movement, yet these parties are hoping to win the votes of the youth.

Other parties’ silence on various issues affecting this country and the youth in particular has been deafening. Malema always shoots his mouth off, at times for the wrong reasons, but he is also visible, while others have been hiding in their cocoons.

Malema is a crowd-drawer and most media look forward to covering him. The black youth in particular, especially the men, feel that he addresses their issues.

He performed dismally in matric, just like a lot of black men have. He feels that racism is still largely prevalent as it mostly affects black men. Malema has been blamed for being himself, but the way he is is the way many black men are and they see themselves in him.

He has women fans as well. We know that the black population is the majority in this country and as unpopular and as uneducated as Malema is, he appeals to many and will definitely get their vote, while other formations have said nothing to the youth.

So attacks by the likes of DA leader Helen Zille and IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi from their ivory towers are attacks on the masses who identify with and see themselves in Malema. The political landscape is still polarised in this manner, logically or illogically.

The majority of the people of this country still do not identify with a lot of the opposition parties. I have more respect for parties such as the Freedom Front Plus, which concentrate on their niche market and cut their losses, than for those that claim to represent most interests but continue to look after the interests of the chosen few.

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