Youth, Protests and the 2014 National Elections: The Case of Zamdela, Sasolburg

There is a general perception that youth are apathetic to local politics and
national elections. At the same time, young people are often at the forefront of
protest. Both electoral politics and protest are forms of political participation;
however, the relationship between the two is under-explored. In Zamdela,
young people were politicised by two events: the January 2013 protest, and the
formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in mid-2014. In addition,
many youth are simply conflicted by the lack of service delivery by the ruling
party and the lack of viable alternatives in elections. Using qualitative data,
this article traces and thematically analyses the political attitudes of youth
in Zamdela between the demarcation protest of January 2013 and the May
2014 national elections. Quantitatively, the article provides practical data
describing the way in which young people engaged with the 2014 national
elections, given the fluctuating perspectives throughout 2013 and 2014.
Against this background the article analyses the notion of youth apathy
towards politics and elections, as well as Booysen’s (2007) ‘ballot and the
brick’ analysis of political engagement, protest and elections. The article
demonstrates that a high proportion of young people are politically aware,
participated in the protest, voted in elections, and evinced an increased
likelihood of voting for parties other than the ANC.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: elections, political alternatives, political apathy, political participation, protest, youth
journal of african elections vol16 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa