African Youth Survey: South Africa Special Report

The African Youth Survey provides valuable insights into one of the world’s most significant demographics. With over a billion people under the age of 30 and an additional 30 million turning 18 every year understanding this population is crucial. Generously supported by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, this study is utilized by governments, private sector organizations, and civil society to gain insights into the aspirations, concerns, and attitudes of Africa’s youth. Since its inception in 2020, the African Youth Survey has conducted over 15,000 interviews across 25 countries across the continent.

Launched in time for the elections in May 2024, the special report on South Africa is available here.

The full 2024 report will be available August 2024.

Key Findings from South Africa:

  • Current State of South Africa. Confidence in the nation’s future has significantly declined, with 75% believing it is heading in the wrong direction – a 24% increase since 2020. Amidst deepening crises in South Africa, the youth are calling for urgent action to reduce corruption, create jobs, and improve basic needs and services.
  • Addressing Corruption. Concerns about corruption has reached an all-time high, with a staggering 76% of youth expressing dissatisfaction with the South African government’s efforts to address the issue. There is a strong desire for systemic change, with widespread support for policies and approaches aimed at eradicating corruption in the country.
  • Attitudes Towards Democracy. Appetite for democracy remains strong but given the current challenges faced by South Africa, there are growing signs that youth are open to change.
  • Democratic Engagement. Youth engagement in the political process is high and many believe that their voices are heard by those in leadership positions. However, there are serious concerns about the impact of misinformation and fake news on elections and broader societal issues.
  • Treatment of Individuals. Belief in equality of all under the law is undermined by perceptions of unfair treatment and limited satisfaction by police and security services. Concerns are rising about gender-based violence, women’s rights, protection for ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ communities, and the impact of illegal immigration and refugees in South Africa.
  • Life in South Africa. Most youth feel that post-Apartheid South Africa has not successfully addressed a range of issues, with satisfaction with public services being staggeringly low and declining. There is a growing expectation that standards have plateaued for the near and longer-term future.
  • Personal Ambitions. The bleak employment and entrepreneurial outlook in South Africa, compounded by perceptions of widespread corruption, is causing youth to consider looking elsewhere in the world to achieve their future ambitions.

Key Findings from South Africa:
Bloomberg: South African Youth Despondency Is Rife Ahead of Vote, Survey Shows
The South African: Elections 2024: Only around half of South Africa’s youth likely to vote
CNBC: Corruption, unemployment main concerns for African youth – survey reveals
MoneyWeb: South African youth despondency is rife ahead of vote, survey shows
Vanguard: Listen to voices of youths in Africa, world’s policymakers urged
Brookings: African Youth Survey reveals sustained optimism and shifting priorities
The Economist: Africa’s coups are part of a far bigger crisis
The European Business Council for Africa: African Youth Survey 2022
The Guardian: Growing numbers of young Africans want to move abroad, survey suggests

For more information, please contact Cole Ryan at [email protected]

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