The ‘born-free’ non-voting youth: a study of voter apathy among a selected cohort of South African youth

Many studies have engaged youth’s apathy to electoral participation, but there is a special interest in South African youth. They are beneficiaries of long history of struggle for political equality. This study examines why some ‘born-frees’, those born since 1994, did not vote in 2014 General Election. It explores the socio-economic and political reasons affecting their participation in electoral process, and their opinions of the political process in the 2014 General Election. This study reveals that cynicism about politics and social economic concerns are some of the reasons affecting youth turnout. However, they are like youth in many nations with apathetic attitude to politics. The idealisation of struggle, freedom and democracy has created a narrative of a ‘born-free’ generation that should honour the legacies of the struggle by voting. Perhaps, they should not be burdened with this emotional expectation, but to address their concerns about poverty, unemployment and inequality. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: The ‘born-free’ non-voting youth: a study of voter apathy among a selected cohort of South African youth
Authors: Oyedemi, Toks
Mahlatji, Desline
Year: 2016
Periodical: Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (ISSN 1470-1014)
Volume: 43
Issue: 3
Pages: 311-323
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://doi.org/10.1080/02589346.2016.1160857
Abstract: Many studies have engaged youth’s apathy to electoral participation, but there is a special interest in South African youth. They are beneficiaries of long history of struggle for political equality. This study examines why some ‘born-frees’, those born since 1994, did not vote in 2014 General Election. It explores the socio-economic and political reasons affecting their participation in electoral process, and their opinions of the political process in the 2014 General Election. This study reveals that cynicism about politics and social economic concerns are some of the reasons affecting youth turnout. However, they are like youth in many nations with apathetic attitude to politics. The idealisation of struggle, freedom and democracy has created a narrative of a ‘born-free’ generation that should honour the legacies of the struggle by voting. Perhaps, they should not be burdened with this emotional expectation, but to address their concerns about poverty, unemployment and inequality. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]