A tjatjarag born-free or a blind voter?
As the 2014 general election draws closer, I am a collection of conflicting thoughts and feelings. I am excited about it, yet there is a feeling of dread at the bottom of my tummy - like looking forward to a birthday but knowing deep down there will be disappointment.
Believe it or not, next year will be the first time I'll ever cast a ballot and also my first time trying to get purple dye off my thumb. I am a born-free and by that I don't mean the type that listens to Justin Bieber on oversized headphones.
Basically, I only found out what Apartheid was when my grade 6 history teacher explained it to me in a laborious lesson. I have no stories from the struggle, or even one good story of being discriminated against that I could dish out to my grandchildren. So forgive me for getting butterflies in my tummy at the thought of placing an 'x' next to the name of a political party, which I believe would best rule the country.
A slight glitch that I am facing however, is the fact that I was introduced to local politics at an early stage, somewhat prematurely. No, I don't wear t-shirts bearing the names of politicians nor have I ever handed out a single "vote for (insert party name here)" pamphlet.
I entered journalism at a young age - barely 18. While my peers rebelled at the world by means of tattoos, punk rock etc, I got (and continue to get) a thrill from holding authorities accountable.
I flirted with politics by reading every political article I could get my hands on, had random chats with political analysts just so that I could understand what was going on and later on, reported from numerous political events.
Like I said, it was my form of rebellion.
The problem is I go into the election period disillusioned, if not saddened. I read the 400 plus pages of the NDP, while I read the more conservative policies of the DA. Heck, I even studied the Dagga party's manifesto, but when I tried to find out about the newly established Bolsheviks Party of SA, its website said "under construction".
The problem though, I'm not sold on any political party even though I am an easy target for even Verimark sales people. Political parties want the youth vote but they really don't cater for the youth - that's the fact.
We hear that Uncle Trevor Manuel wants to find us jobs by 2013, while the cool headgear woman, Mamphele Ramphele, wants us to lead the country in five years.
Political parties look at young people in two lights: not bothered to worry about politics and good cheerleaders in the political sphere.
The Independent Electoral Commission recorded that only four out of 100 "born-frees" in the Western Cape are registered to vote in next year's elections.
Political parties are simply not speaking the language of the youth.
So what about the DA Youth and ANC Youth League?
The truth is none of them are really committed to helping me and my peers with real youth issues including drugs, bad teachers, sex pests at universities, irrelevant qualifications and no jobs. As it seems, all we get are empty promises.
A youth wing does not help a 19-year-old boy from Soweto who did not get into university or a young girl with an unwanted pregnancy.
If political parties really think the youth are the future, they will not be satisfied with blind voting and herd-like support. Engage us, tell us what's on offer and more importantly, let us decide.
Qaanitah Hunter is just a tjatjarag teenager that calls herself a journalist. She will possibly have a midlife crisis before 25. She writes in her personal capacity - no really, she does.
Follow her on Twitter: @QaanitahHunter