Democracy Isn’t What It Used To Be

Second, South Africa is preparing to go to the polls next week and the mood couldn’t be more different from the excitement of its first democratic election when Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress out of apartheid and into power in 1994.

This time around, the electorate – of what is now described as a post-Rainbow Nation – is expected to show its discontent with the rate of progress over the last thirty years and return a vote that will unseat the ANC’s absolute majority for the first time.

It’s a watershed moment.  Not only because it will usher in a new era of coalition politics and bring fresh voices, from across the political spectrum, into the mainstream but also because so many young South Africans have signaled that they do not plan to cast their vote.

Among them may be some of our young Net Buddies, who will be eligible to vote for the first time and, like many of their millennium contemporaries around the world, feel the political system is broken and doesn’t serve them.  A powerful reminder that – whether they choose to go to the polls on 29 May or not – they will be exercising the democratic right their ancestors fought for.

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