Young People


Youth Capital

20 million South Africans are under the age of 35. This youth bubble has the potential to transform South Africa’s economic and social reality.

Posted on 6 Nov 2019

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Finding the ‘ordinary magic’ that made me resilient

Photographer Wandie Mesatywa is incredibly resilient as you will read in this essay, in which she shares her story from being a youngster in rural Eastern Cape to becoming a teaching and exhibiting artist. What makes a person resilient?  Are we born that way?  Do you have it or you don’t?  Wandie takes us on […]

Posted on 5 Nov 2019

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The Human Factor 2

We are proud to release the second issue of our Human Factor publication. Entitled ‘The heart of parenting – how the alchemy of love, hope and fear prepares children for life’, this issue explores the power of parents as their children’s first educators and their right to continue to champion their children’s education throughout schooling.

Posted on 23 Oct 2019

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Let’s get behind the General Education Certificate — and make it work

Currently, half of all children who start school make it to matric — the majority drop out in Grade 10 and 11 after repeating multiple grades. Grade 9 marks the end of compulsory schooling; if done right, formalising this point in a learner’s educational journey could be an important mechanism to improve outcomes for young […]

Posted on 3 Oct 2019

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Our challenge is psychological as much as it is economic: Ten ways to create new opportunity for young people

We are fast running out of time to create hope for the millions of young people who are still excluded from the formal economy. Escalating violence in South Africa shows that the problem is not absolute poverty; after all, there are many countries poorer but more peaceful than ours. Rather, the problem is extreme inequality, […]

Posted on 16 Sep 2019

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The true cost of our failing education system

Despite significant investment in South Africa’s education system[1], far too many children cannot read or write and struggle with basic numeracy. Not only is this robbing our learners of their potential, but it’s also hurting our economy, too, with a new report revealing that grade repetition costs us R20-billion a year. South Africa’s education system […]

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Posted on 2 Sep 2019

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Hands-on Learning Issue 14 – Steps to address South Africa’s dropout crisis

The majority of learners who start Grade 1 will not complete their schooling. The South African education system is failing our children because a lack of educational qualifications puts them at a disadvantage in the labour market, increasing the prospect of a life mired in unemployment, and in so doing, perpetuating cycles of poverty and […]

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Posted on 12 Jul 2019

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Providing a multi-faceted package of support to young people

“Even the ants are [more] alive than me. They are always busy collecting food in preparing for tough times. … I am just like a statue”, wrote Thandiswa (not her real name) in her diary as a young unemployed woman in her twenties. Having grown up in Khayelitsha after her parents relocated from the former […]

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Posted on 20 Jun 2019

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Children should feel valued, not threatened

Our daughter came home in tears from her first day of the new school term.  All the teachers had commenced class with a pep talk on knuckling down to work right away. Some chose to motivate their students, but three harped on the unpleasant consequences of poor behaviour. In school, the wages of sin is […]

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Posted on 12 Apr 2019

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Connecting with learners to keep them in school

For many learners, school can feel like a losing battle. We see this in the country’s low matric throughput rates – with only 40% of learners who start school going on to pass matric 12 years later[1]. Merle Mansfield of the Zero School Dropout Initiative asks what can be done now to give our learners […]

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Posted on 29 Mar 2019

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