Nkateko Joseph Mabasa
To face Africa’s intransigent challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, as millennials, we will need to learn how to work with one another and how to organise ourselves in a different way. Let’s start an organisation that prioritises equality within its ranks, in form, and in substance.
A Network of Independent Candidates, at the local government level, will allow us to learn governance, while at the same time give us an opportunity to master how to work with one another on an Equal Platform. This is the formula, which I believe, will be a good foundation for a political party ready to face national issues at a later stage.
As Millennials, we need to get involved in politics, but we must pace ourselves and do it our own way. And from the lessons from #FeesMustFall, we saw the unhealthy relationship between The Individual and The Political Party. To effect any change in society, a Political Party must help the Individual serve the Community. But what we saw then, and continue to see today, is the other way around. The party serves certain individuals at the expense of the community.
Whenever as Millennials we attempt to organise ourselves, our struggle has always been in maintaining unity. Many student protesters today are still recovering from the trauma of sexual violence within the movement and the post-traumatic stress of domineering young leaders who assert their will over others. We need to do it in a different way, lest our passion dies out. A Network of Independent Candidates creates an Equal Platform to work together on.
I urge Millennials to consider taking up Political Leadership in their local communities as independents and join me in this Pan African Network. We can inject the current political context with our own Political Will. The Network of Independent Candidates will provide Millennials with collaborative strategic resources while ensuring that each candidate maintains their independence.
We must nurture the desire to help our communities with Actions. Complaining has not helped us thus far. And corruption will only go away when we decide to do something about it. We have a duty on our shoulders to (1) eradicate poverty, (2) defeat the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, (3) protect the environment from further degradation, and (4) restore people’s confidence in democracy.
We must go beyond fleeting Social Media online solidarity. Vuk’unzenzele (Get up and do it for yourself). Right there where you are! Look around! What can you do to help the people around you in your community? And the way I see it, Government Infrastructure is the best tool to put into effect our creative problem-solving ideas.
Starting at the local level, we would be able to work out the kinks of proper political party organisation. And at the heart of it, any effective political party must be a meeting of Equals. As an Independent Ward Councillor, you’d have overall political control of your constituency while exchanging ideas with other Independent Ward Councillors. A Political Party will not be able to foster Equality and Justice in society if there is none within its ranks.
Millennials must remember that this is the future we are the leaders of. Therefore, the leaders of today need to appear and serve umphakathi (the community). Furthermore, as Millennials, we are so similar that our differences do not matter. We can form a movement that transcends gender, pigmentation, class, and ableism. Here is an opportunity for all those who love Justice to put actions to their convictions.
Right now as we speak, Africa is on the edge of a new normal. Millennials must therefore be participants in the creation of a different settlement for the Continent and its People. We can start working on building a Just Political Settlement for Africa, starting at the Local Government Level, going up. The fate of our communities is in our hands. We have a duty to discharge it.
At one point, I once held the idea that stopping voting would force political parties to take notice. But today, I am of the belief that I should rather provide an alternative solution than just disengage. I will be putting myself up on the ballot in my community’s Ward election, either this year in 2021 as planned or when the Independent Electoral Commission decides on a suitable date based on the Pandemic circumstances.
Fellow Millennials, we are facing a crisis: We will mature only when we decide to take responsibility for our own communities!
Nkateko Joseph Mabasa is a young African preparing to run for his country’s 2021 Local Government Election at his village in South Africa. He is also encouraging other Millennials to do the same in their own communities.