South Africa is gearing up for its fourth elections since the end of Apartheid. Billed by some as the biggest election in the country’s history the African National Congress lead by Jacob Zuma is overwhelming favorite to win. But for the latest generation of voters here at Johannesburg University, the choice is not so easy.
This student said: “The ANC did fight for their democracy for the past 97 years but then they took less than 15 to destroy it as well. So now people are kind of, especially in this campus, people are kind of confused you know” Whatever the outcome, one thing remains sure, the students say they intend to vote, responding unanimously. But, when asked who for, the discussion surrounding the ANC and more specifically Jacob Zuma, becomes less clear. In power since 1994 the ANC remains a symbol for many black South Africans of the struggle against white supremacy and the ideals of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ spearheaded by Nelson Mandela. But, with a shrinking economy, huge unemployment and some of the highest crime and HIV rates in the world, for many voters the decision goes beyond party loyalty. And while the outcome of the election may not be in doubt it is for this reason many young voters are considering to break from the past. After 15 years of uninterrupted power the ANC has also been dogged by corruption and other political scandals. Another reason which may prompt voters to cross racial barriers.