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.