By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – After an civic education workshop a group of young adults gathered at Naledi mall in Phuthaditjhaba admit that being an active citizen means more than just casting your vote and feeling entitled to complain about poor service delivery.
“This workshop has done more than just meet my expectations; it gave me a chance to introspect because as we did some of the activities, I realized that my own behaviour could be contributing to the state of things in our community. For example, the issue of paying rates and taxes and buying electricity. One needs to take full responsibility for some of our actions that contribute to poor service delivery,” Jabulile Hlongwane a youth activist from Phuthaditjhaba said.
The United Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa supports a civic education programme for youth that is championed by ‘Activate’. Youth activist and youth development programs facilitator Thato Tsotetsi says that ‘Activate’ started in 2012 and he was fortunate to be part of a group of young people across the country who were trained to be civic champions, their primary task is to go into their communities and teach young people about civic education.
“Civic education is about giving young people knowledge and information about their rights when it comes to voting and the importance of their participation when it comes to elections. We are urging young people to go and vote in the 2024 national elections, because their voices need to be heard. Young people need to stop airing their grievances on social media, they need to register to vote so that they can be on the voter’s roll. Over the years IEC has been complaining that young people do not participate in numbers when it comes to elections, that is why Activate plays an important role in giving young people civic education so that they can become active citizens.” Tsotetsi said.
Youth receiving certificates for attending a two day civic education workshop.
The group of young people who participated in this workshop said that they will be voting in the 2024 elections as their commitment to being active citizens who want to see change in their communities.
“This workshop has taught me a lot and I want to be an active citizen, so I’m going to vote in next year’s elections,” Lerato Moloi said. Moeketsi Khumalo echoed the same sentiments when he said the following,
“I need change and it is about time to make sure that the corrupt leaders who are currently in place should step aside, so I am going to vote. I am glad to be here so that I can learn more about politics because this civic education unpacked some things in a way that makes me want to go back to my community and share with other young people the importance of voting.”