To vote or not to vote?


By Joshua van Blommestein

In the run-up to the 2024 elections in South Africa, many people find themselves in a position where they ask whether electoral participation will really have an impact.

With a historical background of politically corrupt practices, unfulfilled promises, and an increasing separation between citizens and the government, it is understandable that many individuals have lost heart in the voting point of democracy. But, while these frustrations are valid, the question of whether voice is still important should not be underestimated.

One of the biggest misunderstandings is that a single vote cannot make a difference.

However, it is important to remember that democracy is based on the principle of the will of the majority. Every single vote contributes to the composition of this majority. Although it is possible to think that your vote can get lost among millions of others, it is precisely the reason for all these votes that determines the direction of a country’s future.

A further consideration is that political participation is not just about election day.

It is a continuous process of citizenship and involvement in public affairs. By getting involved in political processes, even outside of elections, individuals can make a difference by making their voice heard on issues that are important to them. This includes getting in touch with local community organizations, civil rights groups, and government institutions to play an active role in building a better society.

It must also be recognized that the road to a strong and honest government is neither quick nor easy.

This requires sustained participation from citizens to ensure that government is held accountable and to exert pressure for change. If people exclude themselves from the political process, it is easy for corrupt and inefficient practices to flourish.

Finally, there is the moral obligation to participate in the democratic process. Previous generations made great sacrifices to obtain voting rights, and by voting we honor this heritage and recognize the importance of our right to participate in determining our own future.

So, does it still matter to take part in the 2024 election, even if it feels like your vote doesn’t make a difference? Yes, absolutely.

Every vote counts, not just for the present moment, but for the legacy we are building for the future. The power of a single voice lies in the collective will of a nation to move forward towards a better and more representative society. Let’s make our voices heard and we embrace our responsibility to participate fully in the democratic process.

If we all stand together, we can make a difference!

  • Joshua van Blommestein is a 16-year-old home school student living in Fairland, Randburg. He is focused on his studies and likes to do in-depth research on various topics.

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