Empowered Youth Magazine - - CONTENTS - A chat with Happy Rikhotso

As youth, we of­ten ask our­selves ques­tions about vot­ing for our pre­ferred par­ties. As vot­ing al­lows us to say our opin­ion and choice on var­i­ous is­sues. How­ever, there are thou­sands upon thou­sands of in­di­vid­u­als who have the abil­ity to vote and yet they do not. Yongama is a founder and pres­i­dent of YLNS Foun­da­tion, Award-win­ning Politi­cian, Ra­dio host and mo­ti­va­tional speaker. A young Leader who brings about pos­i­tive change in his cir­cle of contact and He was and still is a com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer, youth de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor even be­fore he pur­sued pol­i­tics. He sat on var­i­ous boards ad­vo­cat­ing for the Youth in dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions be­fore he co-es­tab­lished Yongama Lev­ertte & Ntando So­goni Foun­da­tion, which fo­cuses on the de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ties ad­dress­ing so­cial ills. Talk­ing to Em­pow­ered Youth, the Port-El­iz­a­beth born, Yongama shares about the im­por­tance of vot­ing as a na­tion

Ac­cord­ing to you, what does vot­ing bring into the coun­try?

Vot­ing is an opportunit­y for the coun­try to se­lect the type of gov­ern­ment they en­vis­aged to bring about pos­i­tive change, an ad­min­is­tra­tion to han­dle the af­fairs of the coun­try, take the coun­try for­ward, grow its econ­omy, cre­ate /open opportunit­ies for all its cit­i­zens and in­spire peo­ple to be ac­tive cit­i­zens into mak­ing sure that our young democ­racy grows and be­comes a bea­con of hope to the rest of Africa.

Why is it im­por­tant to vote?

Vot­ing is a con­sti­tu­tional man­date for all cit­i­zens aged 18 and above to go and make that one most im­por­tant mark. The de­ci­sion to ap­point a new gov­ern­ment that will see to it that the as­pi­ra­tions, dreams and de­sires of the peo­ple are met, that Mark or an X is not just a mark but it is tak­ing part in de­cid­ing who should take the helm of gov­ern­ment. This is one im­por­tant de­ci­sion a per­son makes in or­der to take the coun­try for­ward. How­ever South Africans have made the same choice for the past 25years and we are stuck with the same prob­lems there­fore it is time to make that change that we so de­sire and not put our eggs into one bas­ket as the sta­tus quo is.

As a young politi­cian, do you think that the po­lit­i­cal par­ties in your coun­try are cam­paign­ing enough?

Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties are cam­paign­ing enough how­ever it should not be about elec­tions only when Po­lit­i­cal par­ties cam­paign but on a day to day ba­sis where is­sues fac­ing South Africans are tabled and so­lu­tions found then im­ple­mented. This is mak­ing sure that cit­i­zens of the coun­try play a vi­tal role in de­ci­sion mak­ing, that is giv­ing dig­nity to all South Africans hav­ing leaders who will serve them with in­tegrity so that the na­tion pros­pers. These are what the UDM is all about such a lead­er­ship that is putting com­mu­nity first not only for elec­tion Cam­paign but day to day life.

How would you de­scribe your coun­try if vot­ing was not a priority?

Un­govern­able, with­out di­rec­tion and there will be no will of the peo­ple. It would end up into dic­ta­tor­ship and a gross hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion space. It would be a coun­try lead by the elites those who have and the have not’s will re­main on the mar­gins of any eco­nomic par­tic­i­pa­tion, pushed aside in de­ci­sion mak­ing. Vot­ing gives voice to the voice­less and makes them heard as they choose who to lead the coun­try, who has a bet­ter vi­sion and will­ing to lay their lives for a so­ci­ety that is dig­ni­fied and pros­pers. We are a so­cial demo­crat party which fights for so­cial jus­tice, fight­ing in­equal­ity and want a non-sex­ist, non-racial so­ci­ety where all South Africans live to­gether in har­mony and Pros­per.

What do you think dis­cour­ages peo­ple to vote?

The hopes and dream of a New South Africa full of pos­si­bil­i­ties and the rainbow na­tion have rapidly and sadly faded away over the past 24 years. The rul­ing party has led South Africa slid­ing fur­ther down the slip­pery slope and the dis­grace con­tin­ues, in fact the past 24 years are a les­son in point about “what not to do”. “I def­i­nitely get feel­ing of frus­tra­tion, be­cause believe me, I am frustrated too, “I am sick of all the chaos, the nas­ti­ness of our pol­i­tics, cor­rup­tion, the empty prom­ises, the de­ferred prom­ise of free higher ed­u­ca­tion, Agrizzi and the rest, but none in the ex­ec­u­tive has been brought to book, the sell­ing of the coun­try for chicken chunks, giz­zards, shoe laces and liv­ers. It’s ex­haust­ing, and frankly, it’s de­press­ing. So I un­der­stand want­ing to shut it all out and just go on and just try to live your life, take care of your books, fam­ily and all en­deav­ours of your life in peace. But here’s the prob­lem: While some peo­ple are frustrated and tuned out and stay at home on Elec­tion Day, trust me, oth­ers are show­ing up.” Some peo­ple vote in ev­ery elec­tion, “The folks who are vot­ing know the im­pact that the leaders they pick can have on ev­ery sin­gle part of our lives,”

As a voter, what is the main right one should al­ways re­mem­ber?

The right to choose the type of gov­ern­ment (Vot­ing) never take that right lightly it is that right that gave birth to democ­racy and de­feated apartheid. It is that right too that will de­feat the hye­nas we have in gov­ern­ment and usher in a true demo­cratic so­ci­ety where the peo­ple of South Africa are served with In­tegrity, are Dig­ni­fied and Pros­per­ing

Tell us about the first time you voted.

It was on the 22nd of April in 2009 I re­mem­ber I voted in some vot­ing sta­tion in cen­tu­rion, I was an­gry, hun­gry for change I needed some­thing be done and be done sooner, I was tired of the nas­ti­ness of our pol­i­tics, tired of the un­em­ploy­ment, squat­ter camps, bucket sys­tem, I was tired of in­equal­ity, I was tired of cor­rup­tion which had stolen so many of young peo­ple’s dreams and de­terred the small busi­ness sector, in­ter­est­ingly I still am an­gry and not just an­gry but am mad as hell. l how­ever I had to ex­act my anger and po­si­tion it for the bet­ter­ment of our coun­try hence to­day am a young politi­cian in the United Demo­cratic Move­ment (UDM) a party seek­ing to ad­dress all the chal­lenges am an­gry about with a lead­er­ship that is not tainted but fights tooth and nail to ex­pose all the dirt in our cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion and the rul­ing party. I had to be a part of change and take a stand be­cause if I had stayed in my cor­ner and de­cided not to take a stand and po­si­tion this anger it would have consumed me alone whilst oth­ers are mak­ing huge de­ci­sion about the type of life I will lead. I kept on from 2009 con­tin­ued vot­ing for change and to­day am call­ing all young South Africans to not seat by the way­side but be part of the change they so de­sire but vot­ing on the 08th of May. If many of us Vote and vote right then we will see change

If you were given a plat­form to do some­thing for the youth in your coun­try, what would it be?

To im­ple­ment all that is in the UDM Man­i­festo so that young peo­ple of our coun­try have a shot at a good dig­ni­fied and pros­per­ous liv­ing. The Man­i­festo cov­ers how we will grow the Econ­omy and when the econ­omy grows it is able to ab­sorb the thou­sands of young South Africans who are un­em­ployed into the jobs sector. Hav­ing an econ­omy that is strong will see to it that

young peo­ple of our coun­try who are into busi­ness start and grow their busi­nesses and they too cre­ate em­ploy­ment. A grow­ing econ­omy give young South Africans the much de­sired Fee Free ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion. This type of an econ­omy will be birthed by good gov­er­nance, cor­rup­tion and mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion will be a thing of the past and in­vestor con­fi­dence will be re­stored giv­ing more opportunit­ies for the youth to be ac­tive eco­nomic cit­i­zens

As the say­ing “The youth are the fu­ture of a coun­try”, how would you sup­port this?

A Wiseman once said to me and I quote “A coun­try that does not in­vest in its youth is a coun­try go­ing nowhere very fast”, in­deed we are the fu­ture and we are here now there­fore old folks should open avenues for young peo­ple to thrive, come up with new and fresh ideas to take the coun­try for­ward, Young peo­ple needs not only ed­u­ca­tion but as well skills. The UDM also be­lieves in Young peo­ple as the fu­ture leaders. How­ever as noted in our Man­i­festo that we are side-lined from eco­nomic par­tic­i­pa­tion and other opportunit­ies. Young peo­ple leave school and ter­tiary but can’t be ab­sorb in the job sector. We believe that a suc­cess­ful re­sponse to this chal­lenge of youth em­ploy­ment would mean con­struct­ing a foun­da­tion for in­ter-gen­er­a­tional sol­i­dar­ity to­day and for the so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to you, what change did you see from the first time you voted, how did you views based on your coun­try change?

South Africa is a coun­try with a con­sti­tu­tion that is ranked at the top in­ter­na­tion­ally and we have seen it put to test in many oc­ca­sions where the con­sti­tu­tion in­deed is the ul­ti­mate law and no one should break that law, we have seen the con­sti­tu­tional court mak­ing rul­ings that favours the rule of law. Dif­fer­ent in­quiries set up to get to the root of cor­rup­tion and loot­ing. We have a vi­brant op­po­si­tion that does not stop at any­thing to uncover the truth. We see un­em­ploy­ment sky­rock­et­ing Go­ing in and out of re­ces­sion Fuel prices never sta­ble caus­ing food prices to sky­rocket. We are con­stantly liv­ing in the dark and grad­u­ally go­ing back to the days of Paraf­fin and can­dles SOEs for­ever run­ning the coun­tries purse dry due to many bailouts Moral de­gen­er­a­tion Racial di­vides es­ca­lat­ing.

What ad­vice can you give to young politi­cians?

Young Politi­cians do not need an ad­vice but a staunch warn­ing. Stop pol­i­tics of the stomach where you are used and thrown a bowl of curry at the ex­pense of the Youth of this coun­try, stop div­ing the peo­ple of South Africa in­stead let us Unite South Africa and her peo­ple in or­der for us to move this coun­try for­ward be­cause divided we fall but united we stand. Stop these Anar­chi­cal ten­den­cies of lead­ing young peo­ple to de­stroy in­fra­struc­ture that we need for the sole de­vel­op­ment of young peo­ple. Let us stop ex­act­ing by de­mol­ish­ing in­fra­struc­ture in­stead lead young peo­ple to ex­act their anger at the Polls on the 08th of May 2019. The Coun­try Needs You and Needs You sober minded NOW.

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