The national general elections are just around the corner but the amount of voter apathy among first time voters is frightening. Over 10 million eligible voters in South Africa have not registered to vote in tomorrow’s elections.
It’s a scary statistic and for a country that is so new to democracy, it is also quite a sad one.
This year, I am voting for the first time. I am excited – it is somewhat nerve-wracking and new. For the first time in my life I am a part of a generation whose voice will be heard. It is symbolic for me that that I will be voting for the first time when our South Africa celebrates its 20 years of democracy. I count myself lucky.
I may not have personally fought for this right but I know many of you, and your parents, did play a role in the struggle. You fought for the right to vote, for freedom, for equality, for a better life – we all did, some having a bigger part to play than others but it was a collective effort.
Each person had their role to play to bring about change and now you have the right to exercise this change and vote.
But it is more than that, as citizens of a democratic country it is our right to choose the people who will implement laws and run our country. If we choose not to vote, we have no right to complain about the government or our leadership. We don’t have the right to protest against legislation or laws implemented because it was our choice not to vote and our choice not to use our right.
If you want to see change, you have to be the change. So go out there this election day – and vote! Have your say and make South Africa the place you want it to be.
You have the choice, you have the right so use it!