South Africa: 'A Society That Cuts Itself Off From Its Youth Is Condemned to Bleed to Death'


Fostering a healthy political culture that supports active youth political participation begins with a recognition that young people are active shapers of meaningful politics and development processes in society.

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, the late Kofi Annan, once said: "No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to death".

Young people are a significant demographic that must be involved in all aspects of societal existence and youth participation in electoral processes is an important aspect of a thriving democracy. Statistically, young people between the ages of 18 and 35 constitute a third of the population in South Africa, about 17.84 million people.

In the past decade, youth participation in politics has dwindled and remained elusive for a couple of reasons. First, the political participation of young people has not been extended beyond an electoral cycle. As a result, after an election, young people are often forgotten by political parties and seldom included in any decision-making and development...

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