On Wednesday, the 8th of May, South Africans will take to the polls to participate in their sixth national elections since the dawn of the country’s independence some 25 years ago.

Voter apathy for the elections by the youth demographic has been worryingly high, however, widespread at the 18 to 24-year increment. One could contend, according to a recently-released study commissioned by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, that such disillusionment from South Africa’s influential youth could even put the democratic processes that helped shape the ‘Rainbow Nation’ in jeopardy.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Ivor Ichikowitz, a South African industrialist and founder of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, on the matter; on the state of the nation upon the backdrop of his Family Foundation’s disclosure of the study, its findings markedly shedding light on the central principles, attitudes, and ultimately, concerns of South Africa’s youth. Ichikowitz is the founder of the Paramount Group, a large South African defense contractor.

With political leadership in flux, Ichikowitz believes the ‘Democratic Experiment’ of South Africa and its future stability is being challenged like never before by the voices of those that throughout history have guided South Africa’s socioeconomic trajectory; its young people.

What were the motivations behind holding this Survey in South Africa?

Like many South Africans, I’m an eternal optimist – And I have always believed that the future of our country lies within the optimism and energy of our young people.

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