Disappointed and apathetic Soweto youth boycott elections

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Young voters leave voting up to their elders. Photo: Rosetta Msimango
Young voters leave voting up to their elders. Photo: Rosetta Msimango

ELECTIONS


As the number of voters under 25 years old steadily increased at the Morris Isaacson High School voting station in Soweto, a lot of their peers in the area remained unmoved at the prospect of exercising their right to vote.

The majority of “born-frees” in the area seemed to leave participation in the polls to their elders.

A group of five youngsters between the ages of 20 and 23 chose to use the park opposite the iconic high school to smoke water pipes and play music, making it clear to the City Press team that they were not going to vote.

“I don’t need to vote because politicians always do what they want anyway,” said Katlego Moloi, adding that she did not see a presence of young people in South African politics.

“I don’t see a future [for us], as all of the people who govern us are old – there is no politician that I can relate to.”

The 22-year-old IT student at the University of Johannesburg said that she also did not believe that politicians could fulfil their promises.

“I’ve been struggling with funding ever since I enrolled two years ago, yet we were told about free education.”

Her friend, Mahlatse Mokoena (23), said that he had been battling for government support after he started a clothing store in the area.

He said: 

I have applied so many times for funding to the extent that I have given up. So there is nothing compelling me to vote.

About 25m from the voting station, another group in their early 20s used the parking space of the Memorial Acre to play street soccer.

Most of them refused to talk to City Press but they passed comments that they also would not be voting.

Thato Khumalo (20) said he would not vote because the area was experiencing power cuts.

Khumalo said:

The parties just want votes, they don’t care about our needs, so why must I vote?

His main struggle is finding employment as both his parents were not working.

“I have been applying to jobs and learnership programmes. It seems like if you don’t know someone from within, then your application will never see the light of day,” the disgruntled young man said.


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