Citizen.Speak.Amplify

The Youth Vote in Cape Town

Bongekile Mehlakhulu, 21, a student in Langa, told us: “I vote because it’s a free country and I want my vote to count. Here in Langa we don’t have houses. If they can provide houses and clean toilets, that the only thing we are complaining about. I want my community to change – I want to see Langa become a better place."

Yesterday, South Africa’s youngsters eagerly descended on voting booths to cast their ballot in the country’s fifth democratic election. Headlines have been blazing about youth disinterest, and the apathy of the born-frees. Only one-third of the nation’s first- time voters registered to vote, but those who marked their ballot ardently defended their choice. By RA’EESA PATHER.

Zandi Bavuma

 

 

Zandi Bavuma, 22, student, Gardens

“I moved to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape because of the schools. The education there is lower than this side, so that’s why I moved this side. It was my first time to vote, so I’m very excited. I don’t like what the government is doing in South Africa: it’s moving backwards. I’m glad that I did make a difference in terms of voting, because the African National Congress (ANC) is not the same as before, so I think my vote will make a difference.”

 

 

DA flag

 

Zandi Bavuma, 22, student, Gardens

“Young people are interested in voting, but they are a bit confused now with the government that we’re in. They are not informed: they’re into the way they dress, and the parties; they not into what’s good for the country. I’m interested because in the future I want to be successful – I want to be somewhere.”

 

Novelwano Mfamela

 

Novelwano Mfamela, 19, student, CBD

“For young people it is important, because it gives us the opportunity to choose what we want and gives us the chance to be ruled by people that we like. I’m encouraging people to vote for ANC, because I love the party. I love the organisation, because it has a lot of history, and I believe in it. It encourages us to know where we’re from.”

 

 

Queue

 

Novelwano Mfamela, 19, student, CBD

“I think young people should vote, because it’s very important as a South African citizen to explore what you want. I’m passionate because I believe in voting. It gives us the chance, the chances that people from other countries don’t get. So, it’s very important.”

Sam Letang

 

Sam Letang, 24, advertising, CBD

“I’m voting for seats in parliament at this point. I think it’s dangerous when the majority party that rules the country doesn’t really represent how some of us feel. I want less corruption and fewer lies. I know that’s idealistic.”

 

IEC tape

 

Sam Letang, 24, advertising, CBD

“I think it’s quite sad that I see a lot of places reporting that young people aren’t voting. They need to vote for a party they think can give them a chance at varsity, and provide them with the right education.”

Liam Petersen

 

Liam Petersen, 19, on gap year, Kensington

“I want to make a change in the country. Things need to change because people still look to the past: we need to look to the future not the past. For me, the main thing I want to see is equality. Everyone must be… I don’t want it to be like a race thing.

With university, I want it to be about qualifications, not with quotas and all that. My vote can make a difference, because it just takes one vote to make a major difference in this country.”

 

ID scan

 

Liam Petersen, 19, gap year, Kensington

“There’s a lot of young voters, and a lot of keen voters. One lady, she had her driver’s license, but you can’t now vote with your driver’s. So, she went to Home Affairs, and she made that effort.”

Voting station


Alicia Nicola, 24, graphic designer, CBD

“It’s my second election, so I’m kind of getting into the process of understanding politics more. I’ve opened my eyes to more parties out there – the smaller ones and what they can potentially do – not in ruling the country, but in getting seats in Parliament.”

Bongekile Mehlakhulu

 

Bongekile Mehlakhulu, 21, student, Langa

“I vote because it’s a free country and I want my vote to count. Here in Langa we don’t have houses. If they can provide houses and clean toilets, that the only thing we are complaining about. I want my community to change – I want to see Langa become a better place. I’m studying, so when I study I want to become a climatologist. So, I want a better future; I want a better house.”

Thumb ink

 

Bongekile Mehlakhulu, 21, student, Langa

“I like ANC because they bring us freedom; we are free because of ANC. I think Jacob Zuma… no comment! It’s my first time voting, so I’m going to even shoot this mark and post it on my WhatsApp, because I’m proud.”

 

Luthando Roxo

 

Luthando Roxo, 22, student, Langa

“For the youth in Langa there are some challenges, because there’s some gangsterism and some crime. So, I myself, I have to avoid this. The voting is very important so there can be a change in crime and gangsterism, and some jobs. I’ve seen a lot of born-frees coming here to the voting station. They are very excited – some of them.”

Provincial ballot sheet

 

Luthando Roxo, 22, student, Langa

“The young people are excited to vote so that they can see changes in the country.

Our parents told us about the vote a long time ago. We are excited to get this chance, so that we can get a better education.”

 

Uzair Kemp

 

Uzair Kemp, 23, insurance broker, Salt River

“I want to help growth, and help the country, and just to get a better environment for everyone. I don’t think a lot of young people are voting at the moment, but I think it is important to vote. We are the future at the moment, so what happens if we don’t vote?”

 

Ballot box

 

Uzair Kemp, 23, insurance broker, Salt River

“At the moment I don’t think South Africa is being run in the correct manner, so maybe we can have some new people coming in. Maybe my vote can count towards them to make some change.”

 

Hanno and Zander

 

Hanno Koen, 18, student, CBD

“I’m actually not sure about this election, because there’s a lot of stuff that happened with both the ANC and the DA. I’m not really sure which way it might go. I learned the term ‘born free’ when I got to Cape Town, because I’m from the Northern Cape. So, it’s quite a new thing for me, but it’s nice to think that we are free.”

Voters

 

Zander-Bordeaux Botha, 22, Woodstock

“I’m an Afrikaner, and I feel that voting along racial or cultural lines is wrong. A lot of people are still stuck in the olden days, it’s very sad. I think today our youth break away a lot from what our parents believed in. In the olden days, what your parents do is what you do, but today we’re not like that.”

 

Alicia Nicola

 

Alicia Nicola, 24, graphic designer, CBD

“I think there’s a lot of apathy with young people. I don’t know how to make it better, or what could change that. It’s sad because we’re the people that can change it: we’re the people that can make a difference further down the line, so we’ve really got to get into it now at an early age.”

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