“We were born into a world where the environment is crumbling, democracy is dying, bigotry is becoming the norm, and we’re angry about it,”said Maddie Billet, a 20-year-old Pennsylvanian who voted Democratic. Dubbed the Activist Generation, Generation Z , the generation that is between 9 and 24 years old, isn’t just standing by and watching decisions being made for them. Instead, they are making their voices heard through assuming positions of leadership and using their positions of power to make a positive impact on their communities and the world. According to YPulse data, 94% of Gen Z are passionate about a social cause. Here are some examples of young people who are taking charge:
Emma Theofelus was appointed as Namibia’s ICT deputy minister at the age of 23. Before her appointment, she was a youth activist around issues of gender, children’s rights, sustainable development and youth unemployment. She served as the Deputy Speaker of the Youth Parliament of the Republic of Namibia and the Junior Mayor of the City of Windhoek.
Maxwell Alejandro Frost is an American politician and activist is the first Gen Z member of the United States Congress. Frost dropped out of college before his senior year to focus on organising full time. He has been organising since around 2012, when he was active with Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign. He was previously the national organising director for March for Our Lives. Frost survived an incident of gun violence at a Halloween event in Orlando in 2016.
Earle in Arkansas City, with a population of around 1,800, elected Jaylen Smith to be their mayor in January this year making him the youngest black mayor in US history. Prior to his appointment, he had become a fixture at City Council meetings and community events. To prepare, Smith consulted with several mayors across Arkansas. He said it was through his work in the student government association in school that made him “passionate and determined” about serving his community at a higher level.
Itumeleng Ntsube is a South African politician who was sworn in as a Member of Parliament at the age of 20 in May 2019 and consequently became the youngest parliamentarian in South African history. Ntsube is a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the president of Congress of South African Students (Cosas). “Generations that came after democracy owe it to those who fought to bring about democracy in South Africa. Blood was shed for others to enjoy the fruits of freedom, therefore all of us have the responsibility to ensure that we use the institutions of democracy in a manner to uplift the poor masses of our people,” said Ntsube.
Damian de Barros, 24, a Good party candidate for Ward 111 in Cape Town in the 2021 local municipal elections. He has been involved in local elections since he was 18 years old. His concerns are a lack of service delivery, housing, crime/gangsterism, drug use and unemployment. “Unless you get involved to get your opinion and your solution heard, it will never materialise, and you will just fade away with everyone else who remains silent,” he says. “You will never be heard.”
Join our Generation Z Immersion Experience on the 15th of June in Johannesburg to meet young people who are changing the world and are set to become our future leaders.
By Faeeza Khan
CPD Points and level: 5 CPD POINTS at MPSA Level Designated Members
AMSA Designated Members can attend the Gen Z Immersion Experience and claim these CPD points as well.
Category: Non-Marketing and Marketing
CPD Approval Number: MA FT 23003
Certificate of completion to be loaded onto MarkEdonline to claim CPD points.
Image credit: Sushil Nash