“Unique in the post-apartheid period, the authors provide a fascinating account of how adolescents from three very different communities negotiate family life, sexuality, peer relationships, neighbourhood challenges, and schooling in contemporary South Africa. Child participatory methods are skillfully combined with survey data to reveal considerable commonality in the worlds of these young people. All share the status of adolescent in a modern globalizing world which is very much attuned to the young. At the same time, the inequities of the post-apartheid era continue to structure the experience of adolescence and preparation for adult life along lines of race and class. Despite the odds, there is much evidence of resilience and hope in these young people.
This finely crafted and sensitive volume will stand as a seminal text.”
- Prof Andy Dawes Associate Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Social Work,University of Oxford.
“An astonishingly nuanced and thoughtful study of young South African lives, this book is testimony to the enduring power of ethnography. It is also an exemplar of the subtlety that ensues when scholars remain sober and even-tempered in the face of such volatile questions as youth, race and sex.”
- Jonny Steinberg, South African writer and scholar and two-time winner of South Africa's most prestigious literary prize, the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction.
“This thought provoking book provides rare and nuanced insight into the everyday lives of young people in post-apartheid South Africa, revealing the persistence of old inequalities amongst the seeds of change. The social complexities it unravels makes it essential reading for African scholars and for those interested in international childhood studies.”
- Professor Allison James, Professor of Sociology & Director of Centre for the Study of Childhood & Youth, Director of ICOSS (Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences)
“This book is essential reading for social scientists, researchers, policy makers and practitioners concerned with understanding and making a difference in the lives of South Africa’s children. It provides a rich and nuanced portrait of the commonalities and diversity of the contexts of childhood in three distinct communities in Cape Town. The children’s narratives drive home the intractable nature of the apartheid legacy and its impact on child well-being. But most of all, their stories speak of their hopes and fears, their resilience and vulnerability and of how they traverse their complex social worlds as empowered young people who are able to source support and nurturance so vital to their welfare. Herein lies an important lesson for those who seek to work on behalf of children”.
- Leila Patel, Professor of Social Development Studies and Head of the Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg.
- Growing up in the new South Africa - blog posting