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Survey reveals what SA youth is concerned about

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jun 16, 2020

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Johannesburg - The African Youth Survey 2020 has revealed that young South Africans are deeply concerned about democracy, sexism, corruption, jobs, basic services and illegal poaching.

The survey found the South African youth to be inclusive, racially conscious, pro-environment and concerned about politics, equality, land reform programmes and immigration policies.

The survey was also conducted among 14 Sub-Saharan countries, also found that 81% of young people in South Africa were uneasy about land expropriation without compensation, feeling it would worsen the lives of citizens.

The survey also found that young people in the country were the least entrepreneurial  among the 14 countries surveyed, as only 47% intended to start a business within the next five years. 

Unemployment, corruption and the weakening trust in the power of democracy were also some of the concerns raised.

SA’s youth were also least optimistic about the future, with 50% harbouring negative feelings about the future, 30% believing Africa was on the right track, but 73% thought their own standards of living would improve in the next two years.

Ivor Ichikowitz, the chairman of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation,, said as the country commemorated Youth Day, it was an opportunity to reflect on the current youth. 

 “We must recognise and reflect upon the fact that our young peoples' faith in democracy is being tested like never before. This country’s first generation born into freedom, many growing up with high-hopes in the power of the democratic process, have for years seen their priorities ignored and are thus disillusioned. 

“The youth’s key concerns of unemployment and corruption, together with disappointing levels of entrepreneurship, is a wake up call for the government and the private sector to expedite efforts to generate more job opportunities. 

“As the country is struggling to revive the economy during the Covid-19 crisis, the task ahead is very daunting and will require decisive leadership from all sectors of our society. We have much work to do if we are to stand a very real chance of making the dream of the African Century a reality for our people,” he said. 

Some of the other key findings from the African Youth Survey 2020:

  • Young South Africans are nearly evenly split on whether they prefer a democratic system to a stable, single-party system, and split about whether their constitutional democracy represents Western democracies (47%) or traditional African strongman regimes (49%) where citizens have little opportunity to hold politicians accountable for their actions.

  • 12%) had an interest in seeking elected office in future and similarly

  • interest in participating in political demonstrations (16%) waned.

  • 31% believe they will have a well-paying job in five years

  • 64% agree South Africa needs to do more to protect LGBTQ people. This contrasts with the 69% across the entire survey who do not believe that the LGBTQ community needs more protection.€

On a series of other key social issues, South African youth responded as follow:

  • 91%  agree that sexual harassment is a problem

  • 88% agree that more needs to be done to protect the right of ethnic minorities

  • 70% agree that South Africa belongs to all who live in it

  • 91% agree that everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought and belief

  • 47% agree that South Africa is a non-racial and non-sexist society

  • 56% agree that in South Africa everyone is equal before the law

  • 71% agree that religious institutions are too powerful

  • 67% agree that the school system is preparing children for the future

  • 49% claimed their identity primarily stems from their South African identity, 21% identify first with their race.

  • 73% concerned about the illegal poaching of animals.

  • 92% believe that technology will change the fortunes of Africa.

  • 59% believe that refugees have a negative impact on South Africa and should be sent home. 

  • 52% believe that the continent should come together to address common challenges.

  • 79% agreed with the statement that “the 21st Century would be the ‘African Century.’”  


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