Gauteng youth are aiming for the goal post all the way to the voting stations in 2024

October 20, 2023

Winners of the 5-a-soccer tournament that was organised by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and UNDP South Africa as part of the #WeAreVoting civic education campaign

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

South Africa will host its national general elections in 2024 and efforts to encourage the youth to vote are underway. The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa, held the 5A-Side soccer tournament to promote youth participation in electoral processes and drive voter registration to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Themed “Youth of 1994 vs Youth of 2024, 29 teams representing various organisations and political parties, went head-to-head to score as many goals as possible for change in 2024. 

Ahead of the 2021 Local Government Elections, approximately 1.8 million eligible 18-19-year-olds chose not to enrol for voting, while registration rates among the 20-29 age bracket witnessed a significant decline compared to the previous election. To mobilise young people and raise awareness on the importance of participating in civic processes, UNDP and ACTIVATE! have been championing a nationwide civic education campaign, “#WeAreVoting”, aiming to urge the youth to register for the upcoming general elections.

As part of the campaign, public activations have taken place in Gauteng, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, as well as a media outreach, reaching over 100,000 youths who have vowed to be agents of change by exercising their democratic right to vote in 2024. The recent 5-A-Side soccer tournament builds on these activities.

“One of the key UN SDGs is promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and building effective and accountable institutions. The UNDP is a lead agency in the UN system mandated to help and work with societies and governments to achieve this goal. Henceforth we partnered with the IEC and ACTIVATE! to be part of this initiative. We have witnessed a lot of enthusiasm amongst the youth, and we want to go all the way to get them to register, cast their votes, and continue to hold the elected accountable,” says Mr Bongani Matomela, Programme Manager, UNDP Governance Portfolio. 

 UNDP plays a vital role in supporting and promoting civic education worldwide. Civic engagement education is a crucial component of fostering democratic societies and empowering citizens to participate in their communities and governments actively. In South Africa, UNDP has been working with the IEC on several initiatives in the areas of capacity building for domestic elections observers, civic participation, knowledge creation, and innovation. 

In 2022, UNDP and ACTIVATE! released a Civic Education Toolkit to empower young people and communities with tools and knowledge on local government, democracy, and active citizenry, including engagement methodologies to entrench democratic practices in society and foster community-based active citizenry. 

By Relebohile Mosala