If you’re looking for an unfiltered, unbiased, utterly impartial opinion on the upcoming elections, don’t ask your great, great grandfather or your uncle that gets overly excited about politics around the dinner table. Don’t ask the mom standing in the queue at Woolies filling up her trolley with water or the dad beside her, back from Australia for a holiday after emigrating because “the country is going to the dogs”.
No, no. If you’re looking for a straight up, no-poppycock, completely honest opinion, ask a kid.
We rallied up the troops and asked them a few very important questions before 8 May: What are elections? How old do you have to be to vote? Will you be voting?
And then the always controversial but most important questions of them all: What are the political parties doing to influence change and create a better South Africa? What is the president actually doing? And is the president doing a good job?
Lincoln (9) says, “Yep!”
“He is helping the poor people and not only the rich. He does not only think about himself.”
While Victoria (10) responded that our president can do better by simply “not stealing”.
We won’t weigh in on any of the opinions, and before we continue perhaps we should copy and paste the disclosure that this is not a paid for ad, nor does it reflect the views of Parent24. But we think it’s important that parents, and their kids, speak about the elections and how very important it actually is.
Explaining the more complicated aspects of the South African elections to little kids is tough though, so we've provided some guidance to help you explain the subject to them.
What are elections?
Elliot (7) says the elections are, “For voting for the poor people, so they can get more money, house and food.”
Michiel (5) had similar thoughts: “It’s when we vote for the president. The REAL president.”
Almost, but not quite.
According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa, voters vote for political parties, not individuals. On the day, voters are given two ballot papers, one for the provincial election and another for the national election, to decide who will govern each province, and who will govern the entire country.
The number of votes, or rather the proportion of votes each party gets, will also determine the proportion of seats they will occupy in Parliament.
The elections only happen every five years. So voters have a very big and important decision to make as the party they put in power to carry out laws and policies will do so for your province and entire country for five whole years.
How old do you have to be to vote?
“Really old,” says 5-year-old Michiel. He’ll be voting on Wednesday, he says.
But he may run into some trouble at his voting station as Nandile (12) and Qhamani (10) explain you have to be 18 years or older to vote in South Africa. You also would have had to register by now.
If you’ve got an 18-year-old in the house who has, here’s our how to guide for new voters: When, where and how: A first-time voter’s guide to the 2019 SA general elections
Lincoln and Elliot were also well aware that they weren’t old enough to vote. Elliot said he wasn’t even sure of who he’d vote for. And many of our experts knew little about the potential candidates.
Nandile did mention three of the bigger parties though, so we ran with those.
What do you know about the EFF, DA and ANC?
“KFC?” asked Alex.
Our conversation with Elliot went in a similar direction:
“I don’t know the ANC.”
"What about the DA?"
“I don’t know about them, this is hard.”
"And the EFF?"
“I said I don’t know about this.”
When asked if the political parties are doing what they set out to do, he responded, “I think it’s a yes, but I don’t know why,” followed shortly by, “Can I watch my video now, mom?”
And while Victoria said she had no idea what the EFF was, she’s heard of the ANC but can’t quite remember what it is.
“And the DA?”
“I don’t know. I only know DNA.”
"What is DNA?"
“It’s like... a liquid.”
Is that a witty retort about the drought? Was she being ironic? We'll never know. And again, we won’t comment any further – our votes are private after all.
But you can read everything you need to know about the 2019 elections through the News24 election page. Click here and formulate opinions of your own: Elections 2019.
We will leave you with our experts’ closing and insightful statements though. You may be curious to know what our children have in mind for our future – they are, after all, our future.
What would you do if you were president?
Alex says, if he was president, he’d “give everybody an Xbox One,” while Victoria adds, “I would make the world a happier place by helping people on the streets.”
Michiel is not too keen on running for office – too much work, he says – while Lincoln, although he too doesn’t have an interest in becoming the president per se, drives home the importance of voting "if we want change for the future of South Africa".
Have you spoken to your children about politics and elections? How have you introduced the concept to them? Tell us and we may share your comments and tips on the site for fellow readers.