People of Joburg

The reality show you should be watching

May 6, 2019, Author: Carly Ritz

Maybe if local politics had more of a reality TV spin, viewership would be slightly higher. Unlucky for the likes of President Cyril Ramaphosa though, he isn’t choosing a wife and winning over local audiences like Lee Thompson in the first-ever South African version of The Bachelor. But is there a chance he’s going to get a rose at this year’s election? Time will tell. 

Political fervour, electioneering and service delivery strikes come to an all-time high as the country prepares for the general election. It’s an exciting time. Zapiro cartoons go viral in WhatsApp group chats and every pole in the country is dotted red, blue, green and/or orange (Patricia De Lille’s new GOOD party is orange in case you’re wondering about the new hue) 

With each election comes a growing concern over whether people will come to the polls. Things are looking good this year with a healthy 48 political parties contesting the national elections and with 26.74 million or 74.4% of the voting population having registered to vote. But despite that good news, 9.8 million eligible voters have not registered to vote, with a significant 62% of these being under the age of 30 years, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).  

Here’s how you can play your part in a bid to get this year’s election trending and ensure many more seasons to come. 


Be informed 

People don’t engage in topics and issues that don’t interest them or in which they are not invested. If you don’t know who the political players are and what they are promising, the elections will likely come and go like the FA Cup. Taking stock of the different party manifestos and keeping up to date with the news cycle engenders interest and stake in it all. Are Data prices a burning issue for you? Read more on how the ANC plans to drive data prices down. If Eskom keeping the lights has you up at night, then maybe Patricia De Lille’s new party’s promise to look into renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, might be something you want to get behind at the polls.   

Learn from recent scenarios 

If the shock election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum vote are anything to go by, then rest assured that the notion or belief that the “rest of the voting population” will ensure order prevails is a load of sh*t! Voters stayed away in their numbers, only to regret it later and take to the streets in protest. In both cases, who knows what could have happened had the younger voters come to the party on election day.  


Be the difference 

Yes, we know the story about the guy throwing starfish back into the sea and the “but can it scale debate. But in a country where GenZ is becoming influences in their own right based on the shoes they wear and the music they listen to, then surely you realise the difference you can make. Whether you influence your family, a small group of friends or your entire university faculty, now is the time to lead by example. Clichéd we know – but true. Try it. 

It’s not over till it’s over 

Yes, the political climate in South Africa is volatile at the moment and as South Africanswe are tired of empty promises; we want action. Is everything going to be different on May 9th? Not straight away. But this is when we get to have our say. We cannot predict exactly how this will go but as South Africans, we need to vote. We need to vote for the party that we believe will bring change and create equality of opportunity. We cannot do this if you stay at home. It’s time for the tribe to speak. 


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