Youth and Political Participation in South Africa's Democracy

Surveying the voices of South African youth through a multi-province focus group study

A Report from Freedom House, South Africa

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SUMMARY

This study of political engagement by young South Africans paints a picture of a youth who are politically interested and astute. They have moved beyond the adulation of a ‘miracle’ South Africa that followed liberalisation and the early democratic elections. They have been experiencing many of the fruits of democracy, yet they are frequently caught in a trap of poor qualifications and unemployment. They feel indebted to those who liberated them and the country, and look to government to make things right in their present-day lives. This ‘now generation’ aspires to the fast and glamorous life, yet battles with their party patrons for attention and an assured place in the queue for jobs.

Authors:
Freedom House wishes to thank Professor Susan Booysen of the University of Witwatersrand for her role in making this research possible, including developing the focus groups’ discussion guide, refining focus group participants’ profiles, analyzing focus group transcripts and recordings, and writing the current report. Freedom House also thanks the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) for preparing focus group participants’ recruitment profiles, recruiting participants, and conducting the focus groups across the provinces targeted in this study.