Youth leadership lessons from student movements in South Africa

26 Jun 2017

This article examines the part played by student movements in boosting the prospects of youth being considered as prospective candidates in the electoral lists of democratic South Africa’s political parties. The youth constitute the highest number of potential voters in South Africa’s polls; and, evidence demonstrates that youth activism and energy is commonly sought by political parties during electoral campaigns. Despite this, the representation of youth as candidates for South Africa’s political parties is below expectation; except for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The poor representation of youth as candidates in the majority of South Africa’s political parties raises questions in terms of their (political parties) commitment to youth development. As such, this paper is an attempt to find answers for the following two central research questions: (1) To what extent do the students influence party politics? (2) Are the student’s active citizens? The author interrogates these questions using an Afrocentric research methodology, which reinforces the dominant qualitative paradigm. This article concludes that most of student movements in South Africa are used to fight factional battles and in the process; do very little to push for the inclusion of youth candidates during the elections.