Young South Africans Chafe Under the Party Mandela Built

The Wall Street Journal writes that millions of young black voters born after the end of apartheid have known little but poverty and marginalization following years of ANC governance


A quarter-century after Nelson Mandela became this nation’s first black president, his African National Congress is struggling to overcome skepticism from an unlikely part of the electorate: young black voters born into a democratic South Africa.

Heading into national elections on Wednesday, support for the ANC and its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is lowest among the so-called born-free generation, born since Mr. Mandela became president in 1994.

High youth unemployment, an ailing education system and near-daily revelations of government corruption have made many born frees, as they are known, question what the ANC has to show for its 25-year dominance of South African politics.

Their disaffection is a brewing crisis for the ruling party, which is on course for its worst national result since 1994. The ANC, however, is still expected to gain a majority in the May 8 vote—including among young voters—due to its superior organization, its unparalleled reach into rural areas and a lack of viable alternatives for many voters.

To read the full article in The Wall Street Journal, click here. 

Picture: Thandi Ntobela | Photographs by Samantha Reinders for The Wall Street Journal