First Time Voters: “We Have The Power To Change Everything”

Students protest at the Mangosuthu University of Technology on 18 February 2019.

As South Africa gears up to the general election in May, many will be casting their vote for the very first time this year. The Daily Vox spoke to young people in Durban to find out what will be motivating first timers in 2019 to vote.

Sanele Vezi, 20, student, Durban

Looking at the state of South Africa currently, I feel as though it’s a need for me to vote as a young person. The current events in the higher learning institutions have motivated me to vote with the hope that my vote will count and put in power young minds, people who are relevant and who understand our struggle and fight for free education. As the youth we need to stand up and pave our own way by becoming more hands on to see change. It’s time to rectify some of the issues affecting us by bringing into power the fresh faces. By doing so, we will champion a lot of things and it will be an achievement for us.

Nosipho Manzini, 20, student, Durban

After having done enough research about what voting means, I realised that my vote gives me power to contribute towards change. As the youth of South Africa, it’s all in our hands to change our current situation in order to see a less corrupt South Africa with a decrease in unemployment rate. As a student, I’m afraid that with the level of unemployed graduates, my future is bleak but with my vote, I hope everything changes. I also wish to encourage all the youth to vote and do so wisely.

In January, the Independent Electoral Commission raised concerns about the lack of young voters in KwaZulu-Natal who are registered to vote, saying there was only a small portion of first-time voters. However, the commission’s CEO Sy Mamabolo also said that of the 700,000 newly registered voters, 31% are under the age of 31. 

Mlungisi Mdletshe, 23, student, KwaMashu

It’s not only important for me to vote but every young person needs to vote to see change in this country. I’m currently not happy about some policies within the government, which are in place on paper but not being implemented such as free education. I’d encourage other youth to vote as well so that we can see change economically.

Joshua Mokhaelo, 20, student, Durban

Over the years I’ve been hearing people saying they won’t vote because it doesn’t change anything. But, when I came into university last year I became politically aware. Everyone needs to vote because we have the power to change everything. South Africa is a very wealthy and advanced country but corruption keeps pulling us back. Just like the youth of 1976, we as the current generation have the power to change everything.