Mikhail Manuel, Claremont
I want to urge all young South Africans to register to vote. The way that the system works is for you to register your home address with the Electoral Commission of South Africa. This allows you to choose a political party to represent your area in our national Parliament.
It is here that the political parties make decisions that affect how much your university degree costs, how much petrol costs and how easy it is for you to find work. National elections affect every part of our lives. Whatever your future holds, shaping your country must be your first step.
So often we find ourselves thinking that one vote will not make a difference. But that is not true. To reach millions of votes, you need lots of individual people to give their one vote. So your one vote does have an impact. It can mean the difference between affordable college education or exceptionally expensive college education. It can mean the difference between better public transport or a train system that continues to get worse. Your one vote can make the world of difference to your life and the lives of millions of South Africans.
I urge you to exercise your influence. Your ideas count for the direction that our country takes, and all young South Africans must be a part of choosing a political party that will affect your ability to study or work or go on a gap year. I urge you to go to register. Find your local voting station, take your ID and register. Your opportunity to influence your country is now.