With South Africa recently celebrating 20 years of democracy, and the elections coming up in 3 days, the subject of politics is all around us. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I am 24 and voting for the first time this year (cue your disgusted faces). I know, I know.
I used to be one of those people who said “my vote won’t make a difference, so I’m not going to bother”. I now realise how, frankly, stupid and naïve I was. However, I know a lot of people who are still stuck in that mentality, and I find it rather sad.
Now I’m not even going to go into which party I am voting for, or which I believe should win; that’s a whole different ball game, and one I would rather not play on the internet. The point of this post is to encourage those of who feel the same way I used to, to change your thoughts on the situation.
While South African politics is known to be rife with corruption, run by those who have no regard for the people or the country; the only way this can change is through the people. We seem to forget the power we have in shaping our government and our country.
I want to discourage you from thinking of voting day as just another public holiday, and encourage you to take in the true importance and gravity of the day.
Voting allows you not only to play a part in shaping the future of the country, but also to voice your opinion and make it heard. Whether or not your party wins, your vote will be counted. Your vote could also be the one vote your party needs for that extra seat in parliament, which, believe it or not, counts.
Believe me, I know how easy it is to find faults in our government and the country, and to lose hope owing to this. I know exactly why so many young (and old) people choose not to vote, but as time has gone by I realise we have to take any chance we get to have our voices heard and run with it. At least you’ll know you took part in something exceptionally important.
I also agree with those who say that if you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain about the country and how it’s being run. If you make no effort to take part in trying to make the change, you have no place to complain about the things you feel are wrong with this beautiful country of ours. (If you are now saying “my vote makes no difference though”, please refer to paragraph one).
My life plans include moving to the UK, and I pledge to always take part in the SA elections because I believe this country has so much potential, that would be easily fulfilled if we had a government in power that truly cared and was passionate about the people and making South Africa a better place.
While South Africa’s idea of democracy may be missing one or two elements, we do have free elections that allow all South African citizens, regardless of race, gender, age or current residing country, to vote. I believe we should take advantage of this. It’s the only way to make the change. The power lies with us.
Love and Light, lovelies. xx