Growing up in the new South Africa: childhood and adolescence in post-apartheid Cape Town

PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): R.Bray, I.Gooskens, L.Kahn, S.Moses, J.Seekings
KEYWORDS: ADOLESCENTS, CAPE TOWN, CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES, POST APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA, YOUTH
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Abstract

How has the end of apartheid affected the experiences of South African children and adolescents? This pioneering study provides a compelling account of the realities of everyday life for the first generation of children and adolescents growing up in a democratic South Africa. The authors examine the lives of young people across historically divided communities at home, in the neighbourhoods where they live, and at school. The picture that emerges is one of both diversity and similarity as young people navigate their way through a complex landscape that is unevenly 'post-apartheid'. Historically and culturally rooted, their identities are forged in response to their perceptions of social redress and to anxieties about 'others' living on the margins of their daily lives. Although society has changed in profound ways, many features of the apartheid era persist: material inequalities and poverty continue to shape everyday life; race and class continue to define neighbourhoods, and 'integration' is a sought-after but limited experience for the young. Growing up in the new South Africa is based on rich ethnographic research in one area of Cape Town, together with an analysis of quantitative data for the city as a whole. The authors, all based at the time in the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town, draw on varied disciplinary backgrounds to reveal a world in which young people's lives are shaped by both an often adverse environment and the agency that they themselves exercise. This book should be read by anyone, whether inside or outside of the university, interested in the well-being of young South Africans and the social realities of post-apartheid South Africa.