Do young people have an obligation to cast their vote in the upcoming election, or is it their right to remain silent?
On Wednesday, 8 May conscientious citizens will make their voices heard in the 2019 South African General Elections but only a small percentage of those voices will belong to the youth.
A recent GroundUp report stated that "the number of new voters has dropped by nearly half (47%)" since 2014.
This is despite the fact that the population has grown by approximately 7.5% over the past five years.
However the report noted that the decline in young voters has become a global trend.
In South Africa people under the age of 29 years constitute almost 22%, or about nine million, of the voting community. As a result young voters are said to potentially carry immense political weight.
But despite their unique position the youth are choosing not to exercise their right and are instead becoming less engaged in the formal political arena.
One explanation is an increasing disillusionment over past government performance along with a growing frustration over unfulfilled promises with regard to work and proper housing.
Research shows that young people are also finding different platforms of expressing themselves, such as "protests and cultural forums."
But does this mean that voting is no longer necessary?
Some might argue that young people have a duty towards those who dedicated and sacrificed their lives to create a free and democratic society.
Are the elections the only way for citizens to be heard?
Do you think it is important for young people to vote on Wednesday?
Source: GroundUp article