Youth should be better informed

MBOMBELA – Before the birth of democracy in the country, young people were at the forefront of the revolution, but today, many young people seem to be ignorant about politics.

According to research, the youth in South Africa are faced with a number of challenges including more active participation in politics.

While the SABC live political debate was in session at Mbombela Municipality on Sunday night, many youths were chanting songs outside mocking their opposition.

A number of them appeared to be blindly following political leaders with very little knowledge of what was going on.
When this reporter asked them why they were there and what was going on inside, a number of them stated that they were not aware of the political debate. They were just excited to have been freely ferried there and given food.
“I don’t know exactly what is going on here. We were brought from Bushbuckridge and I thought we were coming for a Freedom Day celebration,” said Mr James Makhubela.
Asked what Freedom Day meant to him, he explained that it meant that he was allowed to go wherever he wished without being questioned.
Another young person, Ms Tintswalo Gumede, confirmed that the youth needed to be educated about the country’s history and what democracy meant.
When she was asked how freedom had changed her life and her community, she said that since she was only 19 years old, she did not know how life had been before and therefore could not comment.

She agreed that today’s youth were ignorant about politics and the well-being of the country they lived in.
“We need to be enlightened, especially in rural areas where I come from. Politicians only show up during election campaigns, but little is done to teach us,” she said.
Political analyst, Mr Zweli Mncube acknowledged that there was little political interest among the youth and blamed the education system and political parties for this.
“Young people only know the dictionary definition of politics but do not understand it from a South African perspective. They do not know how the country is run and have no knowledge of the economy either.

There should be a strong curriculum that includes socio-political issues from a low level at schools,” he explained.
He added that political education should go beyond knowing who Mandela had been and what he had stood for. It must be stepped up to the extent where a young person could make informed decisions.
“Our youth accepts without question whatever politicians tell them. To them, the politicians who make the most noise are the right ones and this is worrying since the youth is the future. It raises questions about the future of politics in the country,” concluded Mncube.

Nomvula Chawane

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