Why is the current political climate so quiet ahead of the 2019 elections?

In Hatfield  on 6 April 2019, the people in the room voted for the dialogue topic “Why is the current political climate so silent ahead of the 2019 elections?”

The  challenges or concerns of the group included struggling against paralysis, feeling helpless or guilty, and a recurring questioning of ourselves “Are we making a difference? Am I being set up for failure?”


As many of you know, participants decide to represent a particular voice during the dialogue. Some special moments from the dialogue included:

  • a white male voice realising how out of touch he currently is with the township voice
  • a voice of young people speaking about the way their legitimate issues were manipulated by political parties for their own purposes which meant that young people felt they were left with no voice
  • a voice of township expressing despondency, hopelessness, bitterness and cynicism with the lack of change and political parties’ unfinished projects (which usually start just before elections)
  • a voice of township feeling like a fool that is used and moved around like a strategic pawn
  • a voice of white privilege joining the township voice because she felt the same way, and expressing her doubt and frustration that any personal effort on her behalf was making a difference because systemic change is what is actually needed

At this point, almost a month before elections, there is a sense of despondency, depression and hopelessness about elections. People expressed a loss of agency and widespread paralysis. Cynicism with most political parties and their in-fighting and apparent apathy was apparent. There was an awareness that this apathy is everywhere, along with a realisation that everyone is fighting for their own survival – each individual in society as well as each politician. Most people seem unsure who they will vote for, although there does seem to be a conviction that voting is the right thing to do and necessary – the only hope there is for the needed systemic change. If we don’t vote, we have lost the last thread of agency and cannot voice our complaints afterwards. There seems to still be a wanting to hold onto hope despite it all. Some people managed to see a purpose and growth in this current time of desert or perceived darkness and still have the energy to organise.



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