The youth are becoming more aware of the power they hold, writes Fahmida Miller.
In Tunisia they chanted dagage, or â€œget outâ€as thousands of protestors, many of them youth, called for dictator, former President Zeine Al-Abidine Ben Ali to step down.
Months later, demonstrators in Tahrir Square in Cairo shouted â€œaish, horayah, Adalah igtimaâ€
Their calls ultimately led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the only president many of them had ever known. The Arab spring, that spread beyond North Africaâ€
A year after the Tunisian revolution, in a coffee shop in the capital, I spoke with Bilel Chamrakhi, a 27 year-old-designer. Still out of work and sitting with unemployed friends, he sipped a cup of coffee he could barely afford. He was one of tens of thousands that had gathered for days during protests from late 2010, demanding regime change and better economic opportunities.
He said now, his only option was to leave Tunisia. â€œWe have to liveâ€, he said.
In the last week of May, three years after Egyptâ€
In the latest polls, the only opposition to Sisi came from Hamdeen Sabahy whose campaign focused on the youth, knowing their support would be significant in a campaign that never really had a fighting chance.
Youth movement â€œApril 6â€ declared weeks ahead of the election they would boycott the presidential vote. This is a movement that was part and parcel of the uprising that saw the downfall of Mubarak, itâ€
While both Ben Ali and Mubarak may have underestimated the power, organisation and ultimately desperation of the youth in the countries they led, is current African leadership doing the same?
In South Africaâ€
We have seen multitudes of demonstrations by poor, unemployed youth demanding service delivery, education and ultimately jobs. They said voting would not make a difference.
Staying away from the polls may be one of the more accessible options in demonstrating a growing frustration, however this is not simply apathy. Itâ€
These are the disaffected who will and should determine the path South Africa will travel on the road to an economic revolution. And as South Africa commemorates yet another youth day, the youth of this nation, as with the youth of 1976, are becoming increasingly aware of the power they hold.
Fahmida Miller is a South African journalist and news anchor based in Nairobi, Kenya. She was most recently part of international broadcaster China Central Televisionâ€