Cheat sheet: how to take on the 2019 elections

South Africans will vote on Wednesday, but many young voters feel limited by the choices available to them.
South Africans will vote on Wednesday, but many young voters feel limited by the choices available to them.
Image: Niyazz/Shutterstock

Not only does 2019 mark 25 years of a democratic South Africa, it also coincides with our fifth national democratic election. Yay! The date is set - May 8. The contenders have been decided - all 48 political parties. And it’s a public holiday - bonus!

Perhaps this is the first time you are eligible to vote and are not sure what to expect. Don’t worry, we have you covered.

So, what exactly are we talking about?

The 2019 National Election

What’s the lowdown?

In the run-up to the big day, election fever is spreading. Tension is rising and insults are being hurled. So, just another day in South African politics - only louder. By now you are probably tired of hearing words like “coalition”, “electioneering”, “canvassing” and “campaigning” but hang in there, it’s almost over.

What can I expect on the big day?

You can expect queues. Oh, and a sea of colour as people proudly wear the paraphernalia  of their chosen political party.

Why should I care? 

Other than because it’s the right thing to do - being a participatory member of society - it is your opportunity to have a say in who gets to be in charge of the country. We’ve been warned that Millennials and Born Frees are the generations least interested in the elections but, who knows, maybe their preoccupation with “rights” will be enough to motivate them to make their mark.

Where do I vote?

First things first. You need to have registered to vote in your district but, at this stage, if you haven’t registered, you have to cut your losses and wait five years for the next general elections.

Hmm … I wonder if I’m registered?

If you are unsure whether you are registered or where to vote, visit and enter your ID number to view your details.

Ok, so I got inked. How do I remove the election tattoo from my thumb?

Look man, this is the one time dirty fingernails are acceptable. For some, the mark of having cast their vote is a mark of pride, for others, an annoyance. But back to how to remove it. The short answer is, “You can’t, you just have to let it grow out.” Yes, yes we’ve also heard the theories about using toothpaste, hand sanitiser or nail-polish remover but the bottom line is the ink will disappear from your skin in due time or grow out with your nail.

Note: People can tell whether you voted by looking at your thumb. Remember this before you lie about having visited the polls.

You’re welcome.

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