Born-Frees need less boring politics from the DA and ANC

2014-01-16 07:31

With elections around the corner, many of our political parties are concerned with winning the votes of young people particularly the so called "born" frees.

What this will require is smart political parties who will send a message to young people in a language they understand.

Interestingly, both the ruling  party and the official opposition are responding to this. Their response however is still unclear if its being heard.

On the lead up to the first registration the DA through is Youth wing led by Mbali Ntuli released a Video titled "My First Time".

A group of young people were seen talking about their first times: it was quick: I was in an out within few minutes: I did not know what to expect: I haven't had my first time. And these were the messages heard on the video with the last visuals showing people who will be voting for the first time and those who have.

Smart neh?

The ANC on the other side released two videos titled "step up, and register to vote". These were also made audio and both were heard and seen on SABC stations.

One video  had a student debator, talking about the importance of voting and why young people should not be consumed by tweets and facebook posts but look at the "bigger picture".  The other had a young "isikhothane" boy in a moving train speaking in isikhothane/Tsotsi tall language. I find the isikhothane video interesting for reasons I will later outline.

But how effective are these messages for both the DA and the ANC?

Though released days before the registration dates less than 3000 people watched the videos on Youtube. But surely millions heard and saw the ANC adverts on TV and Radio. But how effective are these messages ?

Young people don't really care about the number of RDP houses and how many Houses have been electrified by the ANC.

They don't really care or read DA's many statement trying to discredit the ANC. They don't care about its annual DA Report Cards on government ministers.

Such things make young people "bored for days".

I've been fortunate to manage Twitter and Facebook account with thousands of followers and "likers". I've also managed a mxit portal with over 400 000 members.

Young people don't read political speeches or long messages about how the ANC has delivered they get bored. So the task of communicating with them becomes extremely hard in the rapidly growing social media.

Communicating with young people will require political parties to lose formality and political correctness.

On all social networks I managed young people want to "LMFAO" "kwaaaaaaaa" "tlthle thle". They want to be "shocked for days" and go "OMG". Young people don't log-in on their facebook, twitter and mxit to get serious. They log in to joke, laugh and have fun.

And so far on Twitter there is an account "@ANC_YOUTH" which has even made a feature on "Business Day" for its political incorrectness. The account draws the attention of young people, delivering an informative message  in a fun, witty, provocative way. It still gets older people angry for its informality and ratchet behaviour but leaves young people in stitches confessing their love for ANC.

Now it has 10 000 followers within months of its creation.

Young will certainly not waste their DATA on a boring political video but will waste in on a Twerking Miley.

The question is who between all the political parties is willing to stoop low to the level of young people.

The ANC has started with a loose language such as "step up for your hustle". That got the DA angry saying ANC is encouraging young people to get this illegally.I wonder what would they have said if the ANC responded with "you are encouraging young people to have sex with your My First Time Advert".

Their reaction scored the ANC some points however amongst young people.

"Hustle" is not a political term but a term used by young people. Some even dub themselves "hustlers".

Young people hustle to get education, they hustle to get jobs and they hustle to make it in life. The isikhothane ANC advert which I found interesting  was saying exactly that. "I'm poor, I hustle, and the ANC makes my hustle easier".

This advert got a few positive responses on twitter with some young people making reference to Jackson Mthembu calling Mamphela  Ramphela a Skhothane.

So twitter LOL-ed, LMFAO-ed and "Laughed for days"

Twitter laughed at DA's reaction to the word "hustler" dubbing them as oldies who don't understand the language of young people.

Politics are boring to many young people and the question is who will make them interesting by speaking the language of young people.

Can Zuma switch Umshini-wami and Yinde lendlela for a hip hop or must I say a house track?

Mugabe dropped one leading up to Elections in Zimbabwe elections.

Can Lindiwe Mazibuko twerk for votes ?

Can out leaders make politics interesting to young people!

Of course many will react and say I'm not taking young people serious. Fact is, the only young people that find politics interesting are those who are not apathetic, like me.

But I've seen youth political apathy at UCT were I governed as a student. The only time students took interest in when we were doing something witty and funny was when it was posted on "UCT Confessions" a facebook page that had far more the number of people the "UCT SRC" page had. So said the comment posted on the page " LOL UCT SRC page has less than 1000 likes in its years of existence, yet UCT Confessions was started a week ago and has 25 000 likes close to the number of students UCT has on Campus ".

We laugh when President Obama takes selfies but that makes him cool amongst young people. His selfie memes gain him some brownie points. America does have a cool president.

I'm waiting for this year's adverts, it should be interesting how these political party will but their messages across in a way that won't leave young people "bored for days".

More interesting it will be EFF which I think is leading both the DA and the ANC is speaking the language of young people. That is, loosening up, having no chill and dropping all political correctness and formality.

One last thing, leading up to the 2019 elections all political parties need to copy from the ANC strategy of drawing young people while at school. ANC has made home for learners with COSAS and SASCO covering schools to universities. This will certainly gain ANC some votes from young learners and students who identify themselves with these organizations whose mother body is the ANC.

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