Why 2 young South Africans choose a hookah lounge over voting

Eyewitness News met up with some young people who said they would not cast their votes, despite registering.

Phumzile Mthimkhulu (19) and Nobesuthu Cele (28) pictured in Soweto. The pair decided against voting and opted to spend some time at a hookah lounge on Vilakazi Street on 8 May 2019. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The iconic Vilakazi Street in Soweto was abuzz with activity on Wednesday afternoon as millions of South Africans across the country took to the polls.

Eyewitness News met up with some young people who said they would not cast their votes, despite having registered.

Instead, they chose to spend the day, which was declared a holiday, with friends at an establishment on the street that was home to the country's two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

With music blasting from a speaker from a hookah lounge on Vilakazi Street, nineteen-year-old Phumzile Mthimkhulu and twenty-eight-year-old Nobesuthu Cele sat on the pavement outside sipping their drinks, occasionally inhaling and blowing out smoke from their hubbly pipes.

“It’s a cycle. We vote and nothing is done. There’s corruption. Then another five years have been wasted by the same person or people,” said Mthimkhulu.

Cele added: “I believe nothing was done. The poor are poorer in our country while the rich have become richer.”

The two women, who are part of Gauteng’s 3.3 million registered female voters, said broken promises by politicians had influenced their decision to stay away from the polls.

Earlier, when he addressed reporters after voting, President Cyril Ramaphosa said those who chose not to vote were silencing themselves.