How are young people the voices of the future?

’The youth of today are a creative force, with a dynamic source of innovations and they participate and contribute to significant changes in politics and economic opportunities’’ (Youth, 2012).  

Written by: Rofhatutshedzwa Ramaswiela  

‘Young’ ‘naive’ ‘lazy’ and ‘incapable’, are often the words used to describe young people coming into politics. Young people are defined as individuals aged between 15 – 24 years old in the global context according to the United Nations. However, the context must be often considered when it comes to the definition of ‘young people’ in different countries, as those who fall between the ages of 18 and 35 can also be considered as youth, especially in sectors of education, employment and social services. Therefore, maybe words to describe them could be broadened to include words such as leaders, enthusiasts, creatives, changemakers, trailblazers, and voices of commendable change.  

Change is inevitable. With elections coming up in different parts of the world in 2024, young people find themselves in a perplexed boat. Young people need to know that their needs are valid. That they are the change they wish to see and the enforcement and recognition of certain changes need to come from them.  

There are several reasons why young people are the voice of the future and these reasons are not limited to but include:  

  • The decisions that current governments or states make today will shape the world that young people inherit tomorrow. Therefore, it is important for young people to know their voices matter and can potentially give them a sustainable world they imagine for themselves and their economy.  
  • The world we live in continuously evolves. Young people’s active participation in this year’s elections are the change that countries such as South Africa, South Sudan, India, and Pakistan (only to mention a few) have been waiting for. Their willingness to challenge the status quo has the potential to bring the desired change in societies.  
  • Young people have what we call the democratic power in many countries, as they make up a considerable number of the population, especially in the global South. Uniting and coming together of young people can influence electoral outcomes and policy decisions. 
  • Young people are key agents of progress. Their ability to challenge the status quo, embrace new digital technologies, and shift social dynamics are qualities needed for the progression of the world.  

The power is in YOUR hands, YOUR ability to foster change and break barriers is a needed quality in the elections that will be taking place in 2024. What will you do with the power vested in YOUR vote? Will this power be seen or not seen? What are the potential optimistic outcomes of great youth participation in elections? The potentials are there if the  global youth can seize this opportunity! 

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