It is sad when a party loses talented people. It is sadder when one has worked for decades to build a party to see it teetering on the brink of a major setback.
The ANCYL leadership elected at the Wilsonia elective conference are, from left, Fezeka Nkomonye (deputy secretary), Butsha Lali (provincial secretary), Zolani Kabane (deputy chairperson) and Nathi Nqoko (provincial chairman).
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We are going to have the most interesting elections next year, yet no political party at this present moment is talking about millennium babies, who will vote for the first time.The ANC needs to really think of a key strategy to win over this generation. This is a generation that has seen the birth of the EFF and heard through the media about the Nkandla scandal.
Some of them were told at school by their teachers how the ANC of Jacob Zuma is corrupt. They got to hear about the corruption that was linked to the Guptas and state capture. We talked about Mandela babies and some people called them born frees at some point – those born after 1994. The question is, what are the different political parties going to sell to this generation as they campaign? This is a generation that is active on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other social media platforms. These young people are exposed to so much, and some of them have access to the internet. Some of them have never been to a township school and have not lived in the township. Most of them see their older brothers and sisters loitering in the streets every day as they can’t get jobs and don’t have the necessary skills to take part in economic activities. They don’t see a bright future, as those around them are struggling financially. Their situation is made worse by the underperforming economy and rising petrol prices resulting in higher public transport fares. Recently, there have been allegations that EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu also got money in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal. The EFF was very vocal about corruption that was allegedly happening within the ANC when Zuma was the president and slammed the ANC at every chance it got. There are also allegations against some ANC leaders around the VBS saga. This is a generation that has seen it all in the past 5 years. What do you sell to this generation? They are able to engage and they seem to understand issues or challenges we face as a country very well. One can say they are a very wise generation due to the exposure they get on TV and on the internet. One would have to understand when speaking to this first time voters that you will have to put things into context when campaigning during election time. No political party at this point can claim these millennium kids' votes. We need an ANC Youth League (ANCYL) that will understand that going into the elections they will need to be clear when speaking to different generations of young people, as we have those who were born in the '80s and '90s and the millennium babies. The challenges are not the same for these three generations. SA a youthful countryWe will need to have different campaigns that will talk to different generations of young people and also looking into different sectors where we find young people.
Some of the people who voted for the ANC after 1994 will not be voting in this upcoming national general election as some have passed on. South Africa is a very youthful country and the youth of South Africa in the main still live in poverty and don’t have jobs. Some have even lost hope that their situation will change for the better and just live for the sake of living. Those who are working feel they underpaid, as their salaries don’t last them till the end of the month and they have to borrow money to get to work at times. To make matters worse, they read about the rampant corruption that has been happening in South Africa perpetrated by politicians.
If politicians don’t stop with their corruption in the near future, it will be difficult for them to get people to go out and vote. Politicians need to stop being greedy and thinking about themselves. Moving forward, the ANCYL needs leaders who are thinkers and who are able to analyse the political landscape in the country, as we seem to be inward-looking at the moment.Without thinkers, the ANCYL will not grow, as you can’t be a leader without doing a proper analysis of what is happening in the country and continue to talk to the converted on a daily basis. Not everyone is a thinker or able to analyse what is happening around them. When you do that, you also need to critique yourself and check what it is that you are doing wrong and what method you need to apply to win over the hearts of the people. Political landscape highly contestedThe upcoming elections are not going to be easy for any political party. The political landscape is highly contested, and we have a lot of young people who did not go out to register to vote in other provinces. Young people seem not to care much about voting, as they remain poor and unemployed. All they see are politicians living lavish lives and they only see them when it’s time for door-to-door campaigning during elections. We need an ANCYL that will be grounded in communities if they are serious about rallying young people behind the banner of the ANC. The president of the ANCYL is a fulltime officer according to the ANC's constitution. We need a president who will not just wait for ANC NEC and NWC meetings. We need a president who will be active on the ground attending to challenges that affect young people in South Africa. We need someone who will understand that the challenges affecting young people are not the same across the board. A young person in Johannesburg does not have the same problems as a young person in Xharip, Free State. There are different challenges for different areas and those challenges need to be addressed. Politicians must be made to account for their actions, especially those who have been deployed by the ANC – from local government to national government. We need a president that will understand that he or she is a South African first and put the people of South Africa first at all times. Before you are a member of any political party, you are a member of a community and that is what we seem to forget. We seem to forget at times that our duty is to serve the people of South Africa and be among the people at all times. Only a few leaders understand that the revolution is the people. Without the people, there is no revolution at all. We must remind ourselves why the ANCYL was formed in 1944 moving forward. We must never forget that the ANCYL is a community-based organisation and no one owns it. - Rebone Tau is an ANCYL member writing in her personal capacity.
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