The status of youth report 2003: young people in South Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Richter, S.Panday, T.Emmett, M.Makiwane, R.Du Toit, H.Brookes, C.Potgieter, M.Altman, M.Mukhara
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 3558
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/7043

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The Status of the Youth Report (SYR) 2003-2004 was commissioned by the Umsobomvu Youth Fund as a background document against which to make future, regular assessments of the state of young people in South Africa. The Report is made up of two components: first, a review of existing literature and available secondary data sources and second, a nationally representative survey of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years of age. Information from these two sources is integrated in the report. For this baseline assessment, the content of the review and the survey was wide-ranging. The topics covered included education, labour market participation, inequality, health and disability, crime and violence, and social integration. Each topic was approached with the intention of painting a broad-brush-stroke picture of the conditions affecting young people and, where possible, their perceptions of their lives. It is planned that future Status of the Youth Reports will focus in detail on one or more of these topics in order to burrow down and deepen our understanding of them. The material is integrated into the ?Youth Development Conceptual Framework? with an understanding of the building blocks necessary for a smooth transition into adulthood. By their own account, youth see adulthood as a state in which they have achieved financial independence and are capable of supporting a family. South African youth, in common with their peers all over the world, face any number of challenges, particularly when they live in conditions of poverty and disadvantage. Their education may be truncated because of insufficient funds to continue schooling and they may wait a very long time to obtain even low paid and insecure informal employment. A large number of youth fall through the cracks. They may continue in an impoverished marginal state, little different from that of their families of origin. Others will die young of injuries and/or HIV infection. Both of these possibilities constitute an enormous loss of human capital to the societ y, as well as a significant strain on personal, family and national resources. Nonetheless, despite these harsh realities, young people are always the germ of a new society, heralding innovative and different ways of living and adapting to changed environmental circumstances. Everywhere young people surprise us - with their endurance, hope and successes. They need our help and support to achieve their birthright, and to live fulfilled lives. We need to believe in their capacity and creativity, provide the conditions for their expression, remove the barriers that prevent young people from achieving their goals, and applaud them for their achievements. The Umsobomvu Youth Fund, the Human Sciences Research Council, and many other organizations, are providing support for large scale policy and programme initiatives to promote youth development. Through these efforts we hope, both as professionals and parents, to ensure that the lives of young people are continually improved, so that this generation themselves can take up the baton, and ensure that those that come after them have a better life still.