Social media and youth political participation in South Africa's 2014 general election

  • Yolisa Mhlomi University of Fort Hare, South Africa
  • Oluyinka Osunkunle University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Keywords: Social media, Political engagement, Political communication, Youth, South Africa, Political participation, Uses and gratifications, Information society

Abstract

Political engagement through social media is not limited to adults, but there is evidence that young people increasingly use social media for online political participation (Yang & DeHart 2012). This article highlights some aspects of the role of social media in young people’s political engagement during South Africa’s 2014 general election. The uses and gratifications theory, as well as the information society theory, provides the theoretical framework against which the findings are analysed. Questionnaires were distributed to 200 students from the University of Fort Hare. The participants were selected systematically in order to present the University’s population at the time of the study. The results of the study indicate that young people are not apathetic to politics and that the use of social media as part of a political campaign was considered to have a positive effect on young people’s voting decisions.

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Published
2017-11-06
Section
Articles