The Born Free Generation

When you have never known anything else, it is hard to truly appreciate the value of freedom, democracy and “equality”. The Born Free Generation is the generation that was born in South Africa in 1994 (and later), and thus didn’t suffer the harsh reality of the Apartheid. In the Rainbow Nation, all eyes are turned on them as next year’s national election approaches, marking 20 years of democracy. Indeed, it is estimated that there will be approximately 2 million born frees voting for the first time. In August 2013, the Independent Electoral Commission accounted that only around 12% of these young people were registered to vote. When reading South African articles, the older generations seem preoccupied by born-frees’ lack of interest in the future of the country. Like many other young generations in the world, young South Africans are mainly worried about their future, which is full of uncertainty, and many do not feel identified with the parties that are supposed to represent them. This is challenging for the African National Congress (ANC), which has never lost an election so far, but has faced several corruption charges, and really needs the support of this electorate. The born-frees are part of a society in transition: their parents fought the Apartheid, trying to build a new South Africa. Many of them come from torn-apart families (half of the population is growing up without a father according to Jacob Zuma) and just want to make it in life. Mainly, they have a lot of weight on their shoulders, since everyone wants to see this born-free generation succeed. Despite huge progresses, South Africa remains a nation of inequalities, barriers and poverty. It is up to the Born Free Generation to start leading the way. Let us hope they will. Read this very interesting analysis in the South African online newspaper Daily Maverick.

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