South africas youth Essay

This essay has a total of 1834 words and 9 pages.

south africas youth





SOUTH AFRICA'S YOUTH

Reflecting back on the tragedy that just occurred at Columbine High School in Denver
Colorado and the generalizations being made about the U.S youth and the crisis that we are
in and supposedly are experiencing ,I decided to research the youth crisis in South
Africa.

There is at present no "youth crisis" as such. However young people find themselves in the
midst of a range of crises that should be addressed urgently by the state and society.

" South African youths" as a category refers to South Africans between 15 and 30 years
of age; they constitute 29,5% of the population, yet there is no comprehensive youth
policy in place to attend to their needs. Most young people share common values of society
- signs of radicalism and militarism are found in only a minority of youth.

Only a small percentage of South Africa's youth can be considered truly marginalized as
the country's youth as a whole and therefore cannot be called a "lost generation".
Thirty-seven per cent of South Africa population were below the age of 15 in 1991. It can
be compared with the average of 40% for similar countries in the world, less-developed
countries averaging 44% and industrialized countries 23%. The composition of people
between 15 and 30 years, comprised 29,5% of South Africa's population. Figures for racial
categories indicate a total of approximately 8,3 million (75%) black, 1,4 m. (12%) white,
1,1 m. (10%) colored and 300 000 (3%) Asian youths in this group.

There are many problems for the South African Youth and some of the most challenging
problems include family and community instability that leads to a wide range of other
social problems for youth. The black family has been under enormous strain partly because
of an education system that is not providing all youth with relevant and quality
education. Economic stagnation, together with inadequate education, has resulted in high
levels of unemployment and poverty, especially among women and blacks.

Demographic factors which continue to impact on the South African population and more
specifically the youth. It has been estimated that by 1995, 50% of the age cohort 15 to 19
will live in urban areas.

The extent to which young people from the different racial and cultural groups have become
isolated from one another, with the accompanying negative stereotypes, intolerance and
racism.

A historical survey in the report leaves little doubt that South African youth have over
the years been victims of political and socio-cultural crises. They have been subjected to
poverty, blatant political manipulation, racial and other divisions that tore the country
apart, and a lack of any systematic youth policy to attend to their needs. As a group,
they have for many years been largely ignored by the leaders in control of their destiny.
And yet, from the earliest decades of the century, they have attempted to assert
themselves by forming youth organizations, by protesting against injustices and by
insisting on a decent education and living conditions.

Unemployment has been a struggle for the South African Youth. Studies show roughly 42% of
youth between the ages of 15 and 30 were unemployed. Young women were particularly
disadvantaged. In the first place, they were less likely to be part of the labor force
because large numbers were involved in unpaid domestic work. Secondly, they found it
difficult to find employment while being involved in unpaid domestic work. Unemployment
affects the unmarried, junior members of households more adversely than the other members.
Unemployment is higher in the homelands and in urban areas that comprise squatter and
informal settlements close to the major metropolitan area. It is however unclear as to
whether unemployment is higher in rural or in urban areas. At the time, studies indicate
45% of the black, 12% of the white, 40% of the colored and 29% of the Asian youth were
unemployed.

Family structure and living conditions play an important role. The core family has been
seriously affected by social upheavals. Studies indicate that 22% of white, 20% of Asian,
32% of colored and 40 % of black families are currently headed by females. Stability may
be found in nuclear, extended, compound or single-parent families. The extended kinship
system among blacks and Asians seems to cushion the negative effects of disrupted nuclear
family units. However, many youths are not experiencing stability of an enduring nature,
and it emerges from surveys that a lot of young people are receiving only fragmented care.
The lack of control, supervision and attention is clearly linked to teenagers' negative
behavior such as alcohol and drug abuse, crime, indiscriminate and unprotected sexual
activities, etc.

Percentages of teenage pregnancies and births out of wedlock are unacceptably high and AIDS is a frightening reality.
Amenities such as electricity, on-tap water, waterborne sewerage, refuse removal, etc, are
massively under provided to blacks. Black youth live in homes of which 46 % do not have
running water and 57 % have no electricity. Only 53 % blacks have access to television
Over the life span of today's youth, a third of all Asian families, nearly a quarter of
all colored families and nearly a fifth of the black population were forcibly moved by one
method or another.

Culture and youth organizations play a very important role in the South African youth of
today. Studies affirm that one cannot really speak of a single, monolithic "youth
culture". In an era of rapid social transformation, stereotyped binary cultural
oppositions such as urban/rural, elitist/popular, modern/traditional, are also losing
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