Africa Education Eye on poverty Health Hope Dineo Kgopongi  

“Social Issues vs the Youth in southern Africa” by Dineo Kgopong

Photo by Brian Wangenheim

A social issue is a problem that influences many citizens within a society. They are common problems in present day society. Many people strive to solve them. Social issues are often the consequence of factors extending beyond an individual’s control.

There is no doubt that in South Africa, the youth face a great number of issues. Some of the social issues include high unemployment, poverty, violent crimes and cuts to health and education services.

In 2020, the estimated youth unemployment rate in South Africa was at 55.75 percent and it is rapidly increasing. Possible root causes of youth unemployment in South Africa are labour demand and general lack of interest for entrepreneurship.

Photo by Jon Tyson

Labour supply is affected by the increase in the number of job seekers over the years. The rate of entry of women, especially African women into the labour market, has increased sharply. 

Irrespective of various government initiatives to enhance entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity in South Africa is low.

According to DoC Tracker, 2014, the number of young people involved in entrepreneurial activity remains extremely low at 6 percent of the total youth population.

Approximately 60.5 percent of South African youth live in low income households. Poverty disproportionally affects racial groups in South Africa.

Almost 66% of black African youth and 44% of ‘Coloured’ youth live in poverty, compared to 16% of Indian youth and 4% of White youth.

Photo by Clay Banks

Economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson maintain that poverty is also associated with colonialism. They argue that colonialism left behind institutions that were new and unsustainable.

The lack of continuity of these foreign institutions, left entirely in the untrained hands of the prior colonized populace, tended to generate poverty in communities. 

Violent crimes may or may not be committed with weapons. Depending on the jurisdiction, violent crimes may vary from homicide to harassment. Typically, violent crimes include rape, murder, kidnapping, extortion and others. Crimes affect the youth.

Photo by Melanie Wasser

Youth violence takes a great toll on the well-being of South Africa as a whole. Youth violence is distinct as a result of the unique characteristics of youth and the specific effects of violence on young people.

All social issues that were discussed have been going on for a long time. It is just now that they have increased and are uncontrollable.

The government has come up with strategies on how they to tackle those issues, but are struggling. Who knows, maybe it will get better or worse after a decade? No one knows.