By Loveness Nyathi
‘We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.” – Malala Yousafzai
This one is for you, dear young woman. You may feel you are too young to participate in politics, too young to vote, too young to make your voice heard and too young to make any change but wait until you hear the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai. It is a story that inspires and shows how a person can achieve a lot by doing small acts. In your case, it just comes down to registering as a voter.
Malala is a 20-year-old young woman from Pakistan and already she has won a Nobel Peace Prize (She won it at age 17!) This makes her the youngest person in history to receive the award which comes with International acclaim and a cheque of more than One million US dollars. The most important lesson is that Malala was and is being recognised for doing very simple but important things – the right to education for young people especially girls anywhere and everywhere in the world. Surely you can also do something and start somewhere yourself.
Malala lived in a society where she was not allowed to go to school and almost paid the supreme price when she was shot in a bus after taking an exam. Your case is easier. You are allowed to participate and make your own choices via the ballot. It took courage for Malala to press on with her education and in your case, it should just take you some effort to make sure you get registered to vote so that you claim your space.
Malala did not wait for the elderly women to do it for her. She did it herself and continues to do so. The power of women is one of the worst kept secrets and the unleashing of this power in various forms has potential to change things. One of the forms you can use your power as a young woman is to contribute to shaping the culture of governing and government in the country. If you think this is too big and complicated think of Malala who used her power at the age of 11 to write letters in support of education for girls. All you have to do as an over 18 is not to write any letters that can be traced to you but register to vote secretly.
Finally, remember this article was challenging you as a young woman to claim your right, register to vote and make your own contribution. As homework, I would like you to read more about Malala and I would like you to share your new-found knowledge with your ‘besties’. Create a club of ‘enlightened besties’. Go together to the ZEC district offices with only your Identity documents to register as voters. The future is now and you, my dear young lady, are the future!