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South Africa held their national election today (Wednesday). But this Washington Post headline says it all:
‘The promises are empty’: South Africans vote, but the nation’s young people abstain in droves
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be re-elected, but most notable is the absence of young people participating in the voting:
"The political parties all have one thing in common: They make lots of promises, and they break all of them,” said Lucky Gumede, 23, who lives in Kliptown, a sliver of shacks and homes wedged between a railway track and a swamp in Soweto. “So why vote when I can just chillax with my friends?”"
"The number of young South Africans registered to vote has dropped to its lowest level in at least 20 years, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. More than half of South Africans ages 15 to 24 are unemployed, like Gumede, which puts the country third from last in the world for youth unemployment, according to the World Bank."
I will be visiting South Africa again later this month. Their problems are real, and I'm looking forward to better understanding where they are headed politically. Poverty is a relative term depending on what country you live in...but seeing real poverty first hand puts things in perspective.