The British Council is pleased to announce the much anticipated launch of the Next Generation South Africa report compiled by researchers Carmel Marock and Candice Harrison-Train from Singizi, a Johannesburg based research, monitoring and evaluation organization that specialises in studies in South Africa, the continent of Africa and globally. South Africa has witnessed fierce struggles over the years with the more recent #FeesMustFall protests positioning the youth at the forefront of these struggles. Young people are still challenged with access to economic opportunities. The Next Generation South Africa Research – focusing on South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 – aims to provide a window into their world.
Colm McGivern, Director British Council South Africa, says:
“This research is the first opportunity to hear the voices of the Ramaphosa generation in South Africa, and it gives the President and his government a clear indication of the challenges ahead for the booming youth population. Young people here are resilient and committed to their communities and their self-development, they’ve told us they see a better future and they want to work hard to achieve it. This report is required reading for those planning that future.”
In 2016, 66 per cent of people between the ages of 15 to 24 were unemployed; the unemployment rate for those aged 25 to 34 was 41 per cent. This constrains the ability of many young people to successfully transition into independence and adulthood. Since a large proportion of young people in South Africa were born after May 1994 – and are known as South Africa’s ‘born-frees’ – this is a misnomer for many young people. If young people cannot access jobs, they remain in a suspended state where there is a lack of equity and an absence of many freedoms.
However, what is also evident from this research is that even where young people have the resilience to make it happen, transitioning successfully requires an ecosystem that can provide the resources and environment to support young people.
The South African National Youth Policy (2015–2020) opens with the statement ‘Youth-targeted interventions are needed to enable young South Africans to actively participate and engage in society and the economy. The marginalisation of young people is primarily manifested in high youth unemployment’ (April 2015). This highlights that for young South Africans, the priority issue is how to access the economy.
It is in this context that Next Generation South Africa sought to understand the thoughts, opinions and circumstances of young South Africans, most of whom have been raised in this young democracy. Have the members of this young generation, who are entering adulthood in post-Apartheid South Africa, inherited a world different to that of their parents, or do they continue to bear much of the legacy of older generations?
- South Africa’s youth population is growing, is highly mobile and is generally moving towards more urban areas, and away from rural areas. Modern youth mobility in South Africa can be characterised in two ways: temporary migration and permanent migration.
- Migration can come with myriad challenges, including even more difficulty finding jobs than those born and growing up in cities, as well as the challenges that come with living in informal settlements with high transport costs to the city hubs. However, the findings in this report, which points to improved services, suggest that the young people who have moved have found ways to improve their living circumstances.
- Educational performance is strongly associated with socio-economic status, so those young people who emerge from conditions of poverty invariably have an inadequate formative education, which negatively affects their educational outcomes and, therefore, their pathway into the labour market.
- Surprisingly #NextGenSA18 Young people believe a #TVET qualification is better for getting a job than a University education. Research challenges a commonly held national perception that TVET and Matric are not valued by young people
- While there is increased participation in schooling and higher education, completing matric continues to be challenging, especially for black and coloured South Africans.
- The internet is supplanting family as the giver of advice on issues like health, well-being and livelihoods. Despite poor access to many resources, young South Africans have high levels of access to the internet and use it as the primary source of news and information – often before family
- The ‘born-frees’ do not appear to have a more positive commitment to democracy, with similar attitudes as those of adults being shaped by the conditions in the country.
- Young people increasingly see politics as transactional rather than a strengthening of democracy.
- Young people are highly involved in Civil Society and see it as a critical space to ‘remain woke’. Being socially connected helps young people develop resilience
Find more details on the Next Generation South Africa report.
Visit the project page: https://www.britishcouncil.org.za/next-generation-south-africa