Africa Youth Are Disillusioned With Politics


African youth are disillusioned with politics for a number of reasons. Disillusion refers to the degree to which individuals have disentangle themselves from politics. Since after the colonial period, the African political establishment has been a target of criticism. African leaders in the pre-colonial period had an organized political structure. In this period, there had very minimal political principles and social visions. The post-colonial leadership structure gave Africans an opportunity to exercise their democratic right.

The hereditary leadership in the pre-colonial period limited Africans on the kind of leaders they wanted in power. Those in the family linage had a guaranteed position in the leadership structure. However, in the post-colonial period, the democracy was introduced to ensure a fair mode of leadership.

Why Youth are Disillusioned With Politics

The African youth have greatly disengaged from the voting process. This has been the case for a number of years now. The youth see no point in exercising their democratic right because they feel that it will have no effect on their livelihood. This turn of events in African politics is not unexpected. Over the years, people have been turning up to vote but no change has taken place. Africans continue living under poor conditions while the leaders enrich themselves. A lot of resources are wasted on unnecessary trips abroad by the political leaders. This explains while most African countries are still third world in the 21st century. Some of the factors that have led to political disillusion are;

  • The youth in African countries have a low turnout rate compared to the older people. In Africa, almost 70% of the population is comprised of the youth. Very few youths would go out to vote on election day. Most youths would rather go out and make some money to sustain themselves and their families than go out and vote.
  • The high level of unemployment in Africa is proof that African governments are not doing enough to handle the issue at hand. Most of the youths are not satisfied with the way this is being handled thus they see no point voting if these are the kind of leaders they will put in office.

Parties Playing Role in Politics

  • The youth have very minimal trust on the electoral system. This is because of the rigging that occurs immediately after the voting process. Rigging has been a major issue in the African electoral system. This makes the youth look stupid for voting as clearly their opinion does not matter. Regardless of who they vote for, the movers and shakers decide who stays in the office and who doesn’t. The African youths are left questioning the legitimacy of the electoral system.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission in South Africa, during the 2019 elections very few youths showed up for the voting process. The number of registered voters below 20 years was very minimal than expected. The number voters on the 8th of May 2019 was the lowest since 1999. Verne Harris from The Nelson Mandela Foundation, stated that youth disillusionment was a huge challenge for the 2019 elections.


African politics and institutions have been greatly corrupted. This has made the youth to draw their attention from politics as it no longer gives them a way out. Africans are living in hopelessness simply because the electoral system is biased. Lack of enough jobs and high levels of poverty will keep making the youth to disengage in politics. Young people are very frustrated with the system; democracy is no longer democratic. Unless this changes, political disillusion is bound to be experienced.