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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

The Voters’ Festival: To celebrate democracy and educate voters on the eve of elections

The free event is only open to registered voters and will be taking place at The Nest in New Doornfontein, on the eve of the elections.

Freedom Day is when South Africans annually celebrate the country’s democracy. But there’s never a timelier period to reflect on South Africa’s democracy than the elections.

We Are The People describes itself as a voluntary association formed to mobilize citizens to participate in democratic governance and elections.

The organization is hosting a music festival to celebrate the country’s freedoms while also creating a space where patrons engage each other about their civic duty of voting on Election Day.

“We wanted to combine the universal appeal of music and entertainment with the important message of democratic involvement. By hosting a festival, we aim to draw in a diverse crowd, especially the youth, and encourage them to be active participants in shaping the future of our nation,” Executive Director of We Are The People, Londi Mntambo told The Citizen.

The free festival is only open to registered voters and will be taking place at The Nest in New Doornfontein, Johannesburg on the eve of the elections.

Tickets for the festival can be accessed on Quicket.

“Our goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where attendees can enjoy the festivities and also critically engage each other about their civic duty on the 29th of May,” averred Mntambo.

Voter education

This event will feature live music performances, voter education workshops, and interactive exhibits. “We will provide comprehensive voter education through interactive booths and workshops hosted by our civil society partners,” shared Mntambo.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about South African democracy, independent candidacy, the importance of voting, and their rights and responsibilities as voters.

There will also be sessions on understanding the electoral process and the significance of local elections. “We aim to empower attendees with the knowledge they need to participate actively and effectively in our democracy,” she said.

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Being non-partisan

We Are The People was established in January 2024 with the mission to mobilize citizens for active participation in democracy.

According to Mntambo, the organisation has engaged close to 100 communities through their flagship program, the People’s Parliament.

“Our initiatives have contributed to the increase in voter registration as well as heightened civic awareness. Community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many individuals expressing a newfound understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens,” said Mntambo.

It is founded and resourced by South African individuals committed to democracy and civic engagement.

After noticing that the current party funding landscape in South Africa “disproportionately favours richer parties, perpetuating a cycle of inequality and hindering the emergence of viable alternatives” We Are The People has funded some political parties participating in this year’s general elections.

“While we have supported various political parties financially, the festival itself will not feature party-specific campaigning or endorsements,” stated Mntambo.

She said the primary focus is creating an environment where attendees can learn about the democratic process and be encouraged to participate, regardless of their political affiliations.

“The focus will be on empowering citizens rather than promoting any particular party.”

ALSO READ: Election battlegrounds: Violence and tension grip, but who will be king of KZN after 29 May?

The music

The line-up includes iPhupho L’ka Biko, singer Wandile Mbambeni and DJ Justthemba among the list of performers.

Mntambo said the selected artists were picked because they engaged with social issues and their ability to inspire and mobilize people through their music.

“The choice of artists was inspired by our desire to feature performers who resonate with a wide audience and have a positive influence on their communities.”

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