'Struggle' rhetoric won't work

06 November 2019 | Opinion

With over 400 000 of the 1.3 million registered voters for the 27 November National Assembly and presidential elections being ‘born-frees’ (those born in 1990 and after), this creates a massive opportunity for the body politic to move beyond so-called liberation struggle rhetoric and campaigning.

Women also shade men 717 809 to 640 659 when it comes to registered voters. In the context of Southern Africa, where former liberation movements have ruled the roost while using their so-called struggle credentials, it is now time to start actively banging a different drum.

For the 400 000 youth who will potentially cast their votes on 27 November, what happened during the '60s, '70s and '80s will have little bearing on who they vote for. For them it is the reality that stares them in the face every morning when they step out of their shacks. This reality burns home even more searingly when they hunt for jobs. What has the ‘glorious’ struggle have to do with their plight? Perhaps it is only a reminder that what was once promised to their parents and grandparents has not yet been properly delivered; that things are “not yet uhuru”. This election gives these young people an opportunity to express themselves firmly on what must happen politically and economically over the next five years and beyond. For parties contesting for the youth and other votes this is a critical realisation: They cannot continue to campaign with what may or may not have worked with those that lived through apartheid. Something different needs to be cooked up in political kitchens by strategists and those who have sold themselves as vote-catchers for their different political formations. Also, in the context of the ruling party, past track records, even their most recent one, cannot simply be played, so that voters dance deliriously to the polls. These hungry and untrusting youth, brimming with knowledge they are spoon-fed every day via the internet and other mediums, are a different breed.

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