With the nation gripped by election fever, MTV Base has taken eight of our country’s ‘born frees’ to address a hotbed of issues affecting their generation with our leaders: President Jacob Zuma (ANC), DA head Helen Zille and controversial EFF President Julius Malema. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with MTV Base VJ Sizwe Dhlomo to get the lowdown on what viewers can expect of the channel’s unprecedented one-hour TV special…
WITH only a few days left before South Africans cast their vote in the elections, if we could get a sit-down with the country’s decision-makers, there would be plenty of questions begging for answers.
Right now, it is all about where South Africans will be putting their cross on Wednesday.
In the interim, President Jacob Zuma (ANC), DA Leader Helen Zille and EFF President Julius Malema are hosted on MTV Base Choose or Lose 2014. They will be fielding questions from a panel of eight “born frees”.
The initiative, inspired by MTV’s global Choose or Lose campaign, is aimed at empowering and informing young voters.
MTV Base VJ Sizwe Dhlomo will be facilitating the one-hour TV special. In fact, right now he is the envy of most talk shows as he has their dream guest list.
He says: “It’s been a real honour working on this project and getting an insight into how our political leaders think and how they relate to and engage with young people.
“It’s been fascinating to see how the politicians respond when faced with passionate young people who care deeply about their futures.”
On the pertinent issues raised, Dhlomo says: “We’ll be discussing a range of issues from education, HIV/Aids and gender issues to even music, among others.”
Are there any no-go areas with the respective political figures?
“We did want to make this programme more about policy than about personalities, so we asked the panelists to focus their questions on those areas, but otherwise they (the youth) were free to ask what they wanted,” he reveals.
Having to chat with such opinionated political figures is no easy feat.
The VJ nods: “It can be intimidating for young people to meet leaders of this stature so my role as a facilitator is to break the ice and keep the conversation less formal so that everyone, including the politicians, is comfortable so that the conversation can be as real as possible. This is about real talk, real conversations and I feel I can help make that happen.”
Given the public spats between the three, Tonight asked Dhlomo if he anticipated a bit of a pow-wow session with them taking political potshots at each other.
He said: “For us this platform is not about politicians criticising each others’ politicies and approaches. Choose or Lose is about them articulating what their party is going to do to address young people’s issues.”
On a more personal front, Dhlomo says young people can’t really afford to be apathetic.
“I do follow politics, in fact more so these days than ever before. With MTV Base Meets and MTV Base Choose or Lose, I have learnt that you can’t really hold politicians accountable for anything if you don’t vote or speak out against the things you disagree with. I’m not a politician but I do realise I’m a mouthpiece for young people and with that comes a certain responsibility.”
With South Africa celebrating 20 years of democracy, the right to vote is no longer a struggle but more about making the right choice for your future – especially for the “born frees”.
• MTV Base Choose or Lose airs on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) and MTV (DStv Channel 130) on Sunday at 6pm with a repeat at 10pm.