“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
With elections in both South Africa and India, May is yet another revolutionary month for both countries. We hope you have marked your political calendars, stayed up-to-date on political happenings and, most importantly, cast your vote.
Your voice can help tell your nation’s next chapter. And of course, don’t forget to upload a selfie to show the world how “responsible” you are.
A Time of Transformation
South Africa and India are two modern, developing democratic nations. Both are potential global game-changers as they experience transforming power dynamics as each country adjusts to the new world order.
It is time again to remind ourselves to stay “woke” on all fronts and at all times. As a voting month, it is an opportunity for citizens in a democratic country to express their opinions and have their voices heard.
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It is a time of hope for the entire country, including scholars, policymakers, media organisations, entrepreneurs, students, and the public, as everyone partakes in a vital political dialogue to accelerate what needs to change.
This is a time when millions of first-time voters will cast their votes to decide whether the nation will be founded upon ideals of equality, justice, fraternity, and freedom – or not. But have we managed to raise these neo-voters as responsible citizens?
The education system in developing nations often lacks the vision to equip the younger generations with logic, rationale and the ability to argue and discern. The wisdom of today’s youth is often rather largely shaped by the media hegemony.
Communities also continue to battle issues such as low standards of living, malnutrition, child marriage, honour killing, child labour, and patriarchy. In addition, many are victims of social injustices such as poverty, exclusion and discrimination as they continue to face injustice at the hands of either the system or fellow humans. These factors are leading us away from our tenets of equality and posing a huge challenge to democratic freedom.
Thousands of eligible voters in various democracies in the 21st century believe that they do not have a say and therefore will not be heard. These thousands of non-voters often choose to not vote – either due to lack of trust in the system, striving to make a political statement or simply being unaware of their rights.
Beyond the claims of a near-perfect system that supposedly caters to everyone’s need, democracy sees a long list of hurdles, that are either technical or traditional.
Hope For Change
Nonprofit organizations and social enterprises are a major asset to a country. Within these organisations, passionate individuals strive to help communities do what is in their power to make a difference.
With the up and coming social media surge, as well as technology raising awareness, people have taken up various roles as volunteers to help within their ability. Purposeful travel is becoming increasingly popular as a way to help empower and build communities around the world. Inspired youth are choosing to take ‘gap years’ to volunteer or intern abroad as changemakers.
It is time for the pictures of voting day to speak loudly along with pictures of volunteering and genuinely helping the world. Every small action can help lead the world into a brighter space and transform societies to work alongside the government for a better country – rather than relying solely on it!
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