Soul City Institute for Social Justice Launched #YVote4U Election Campaign

According to statistics, voter registration figures for 2019 revealed that after the first call for registration in March 2018, 82% of all new registrations are under the age of 30. Of those, 54% are young women.

As a social justice organisation for young women and girls, Soul City will lead a Young Women’s 2019 Voting Elections Campaign called #YVote4U and it is in partnership with #TheTotalShutdown, Corruption Watch, and Country Duty as part of Not Yet Uhuru, A digital platform for activists and a new voice for the womxn’s liberation movement in South Africa. The first part of the campaign was a Live Facebook chat that launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019 at 10:30 am on our Soul City Institute Facebook page. One of the objectives for the campaign is positioning the feminist agenda to be at the centre of the election public discourse.

This will be the most contested elections given the various scandals that the different political parties are facing. These elections occur within the context of the Global #MeToo campaign and South Africa’s own #TheTotalShutdown campaign. Both these initiatives brought issues of violence against women into the spotlight and in South Africa led to a Gender Summit with various civil society organisations supporting the 24 demands of #TheTotalShutdown movement. Political representatives are used to getting away with campaigning in rural communities where they give out food parcels and think that’s enough. Now we say enough is enough and the young black women of South Africa are tired of being on the receiving end when it comes to all the ill social structures affecting them. Not only are political parties forgetting women during elections, but they also forget LGBTQIA+ people and those living with disabilities. It is time to start interrogating the political parties’ manifestos and ask all the critical questions pertaining to us.

Even though the majority of registered voters are women, they are not voting on the basis of which party will deliver on the Constitutional commitment to protect and promote the rights of women. It’s important to start raising feminist consciousness within young women so that they can ask different political parties and representatives’ critical questions about what their detailed plan is, the budget and timelines and all the other issues affecting them. #YVote4U is a call to action for the political parties to tell young women how they are going to meet their needs.

With #YVote4U election campaign, we’re asking all the young women in South Africa what kind of a government are they looking for. What are their needs and experiences? Right now as a young black woman, what has the current government done for you? We also invite them to ask politicians why they should vote for them. We’re asking all young women, particularly those who are often at the brunt of all the social challenges that we face. At the end of the campaign, we hope that young women will understand the power of their vote and how it can be used to demand change in the current status quo.

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