It’s been more than two decades into democracy and young people in South Africa are still facing problems including; high unemployment, poor quality education, poverty, a high crime rate, and inequality. Stats SA has confirmed that a lot of young people, who are not in employment, education, or training are vulnerable to crime, drug abuse and poverty. After 26 years of democracy, why are young people still facing these many challenges?
In order to understand the roots of the challenges that are currently faced by young people, we need to look back at the history of the country. During Apartheid, black people were prevented from acquiring skills and getting high profile jobs. The Bantu Education Act was specifically focused on training black people for low-income jobs and skills for the service sector. This has resulted in inequality especially among young black people.
Apartheid can be blamed for these educational and socio-economic challenges. However, since 1994 Apartheid cannot solely be blamed for the issues affecting young people. They are still faced with the same problems that their parents have encountered during Apartheid. Hence, the ruling party should shoulder some of the blame for not addressing the challenges that young people face today.
The ANC is not doing enough to put young people at the forefront. Surely young people are needed to create solutions for themselves. Yet, when we look at the age of those in political parties and government, there are very few young people. This needs to change.
For 26 years the government has failed young South Africans, by not improving the public education system and eradicating youth inequality. The government should have spent more money on education and eradicating youth inequality by employing young people.
Today, young people are still facing the same challenges as they are neglected by the government. Our youth are the future of the country, and if the country fails to invest in them; then the country will fail to resolve future challenges. The government can invest in young people by giving them money to start their own businesses or equip them with skills. This consist of improving the education system as well as making sure that young people matriculate. It is now the unfortunate responsibility of young South Africans to try and solve these challenges and this will require unity from all young people.