Maps Maponyane. Picture: Supplied

South Africa will make their mark on 8 May to choose their next president and regional leaders, and our favourite celebrities will be making their way to voting stations too.

We chatted to media personality, Maps Maponyane, about why he thinks it's important for Mzansi to us the their voice and vote. 

Here’s what he said:

What comes to mind when you think of the elections?

My earliest memory of the vote is actually the most pivotal one, on April 27, 1994. I don’t remember too much detail, but will never forget the euphoria at the polls in Soweto and my mom’s efforts to try to make me understand why it was so important to wait in line for a long time. It was a cold morning and a very hot day.

Tell us about your first time?

The first time I voted was quite special. I was 19 years old and I recall ensuring I registered the year prior as soon as I was eligible. It meant a great deal to me because it finally signified my first real act of active citizenship, and a coming of age of sorts that finally allowed me to play a valuable role in my society.

Voting is a privilege. On April 22, 2009, when I marked my first “x” on that ballot paper, I felt a distinct feeling of pride rush through me.

Does it matter?

I think voting is important, particularly in South Africa, because the right to do so had to be fought for. It is a part of the system that gives you the power to help determine who should guide your country, in the direction you feel is the best. It is important because you can have absolutely no say or pass any opinion about the state of affairs if you do not vote; if anything, you just become a passenger in society. 
Youth voter turnout hasn’t been as good as it could be in recent elections… it speaks to the sentiment of the youth. They are still feeling like their voices aren’t being heard. Make a stand. No matter who you are voting for, just as long as you do.

What do you personally value and desire for the future of our country?

A country in which all have opportunity and where the youth have access to education. Where high unemployment rates become a thing of the past, crime is seen less and less as a way out of poverty and where leadership is honest and for the people.

There’s encouraging people to vote and then there’s telling them who to vote for. How are you negotiating this?

I think telling someone who to vote for defeats all purposes  of democracy. What we should  be encouraging is for people to go  out there and learn as much as possible about the faces and the parties that will be on those papers  on voting day. 

To vote for the party they feel best resonates with them, and one which places the country and the future of this beautiful country and her people, where they would like it to be. On May 8, please go out and vote. The future is quite literally in our hands.