The biggest fear “born-frees” have about South Africa is whether they will find a job.
They are also concerned about corruption, poor education and ensuring strong political leadership.
These were some of the issues to emerge in interviews with five young people, born in 1994 and who will vote for the first time next month, to mark 20 years of democracy this week.
Born on April 14, 1994, Mthokozisi Madlala said voting would give young people the chance to vote for better leadership.
He felt the government was not setting a good example because of corruption.
“People are stuck in the past and vote based on race; they don’t care if their party will deliver or not.
“Despite this, I see a future for my country, but only if we enforce change,” he said.
Madlala said his biggest concern was jobs.
“I fear that one day we will have to compete for jobs in other countries. The unemployment rate scares me.”
Brent Damonse, who was born on July 3, 1994, said people who did not vote had no right to complain. In his view, the country was heading in the right direction, but needed the “right” people so it could reach its potential.
“I don’t see myself in another country, but there is a need for change. We need jobs and proper education,” he said.
Born on October 9, 1994, twins Miksha and Keisha Ramlall said they could not wait to vote.
Miksha said they were happy they would finally have a say in who ran the country.
“I know there are currently a lot of unhappy people,” she said.
Although the country had the potential for a bright future, Miksha said the government needed to find a better way of dealing with poverty and a lack of jobs.
“Political parties tend to make empty promises so that they can get votes,”
However, young people did have a bright future because of all the opportunities and the resources available to them, she said.
“Our parents never had such a privilege and we, as the youth of today, should maximise on what we have.”
Keisha said she was excited to vote. The country would only have a great future if all leaders made the commitment to do the right thing.
“If it continues like this, we may not go far because the wrong things can’t be changed overnight. This calls for all South Africans to be united,” she said.
“Many of our parents did not get a chance to go to school, but worked so hard just so that we could be educated, and we should be grateful.
“Our mother was pregnant with us when she went to stand in those queues just so that she could cast her vote. It was a very exciting time for them because they knew how important their votes were.”
Gabriel Attwood, who was born on October 26, 1994, said he wouldvote for the right to contribute to a country which had a good future if more focus was placed on education. But as a young white man he did not know if he had a bright future.
“It is disappointing to know that as a white person, I am already at a disadvantage in terms of finding employment,” he said.
“Although making steps forward, the problem lies with the delivery. I am, however, honoured to have been born in the year the country was free. I had the chance to grow up in a free society.”