South Africa: Ten Ways to Instil Hope in Young People Now

analysis

We have the means to create hope for young people. All that is now required is a bit of imagination and the political will to act fast. Here's how.

We are fast running out of time to create hope for the millions of young people who are still excluded from the formal economy. Escalating violence in South Africa shows that the problem is not absolute poverty; after all, there are many countries poorer but more peaceful than ours. Rather, the problem is extreme inequality, where work-seekers on street corners see the "good life" through the wrought-iron gates of fancy homes and know they'll never be part of it.

The challenge is psychological and as much as it is economic. Young people want hope now. They want to be valued. If we are to build their sense of agency, we must create real and imminent possibility in their lives. As much as we need mass employment, the "jobs, jobs, jobs" refrain could end up paralysing us because there are too few jobs in the formal sector for the millions who need them. To date, our response has been top-heavy, driven largely through accords between big business, labour and government. These initiatives...

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