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 peoples 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.
1. Introduction: Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa
The study of ordinary young South Africans
Researching the everyday lives of children and adolescents
Rights, agency and transition
Outline of the book
2. Discourses and realities of family life
The impact of apartheid on family life
Heroes and providers: Children assert the parenting role
The shape of post-apartheid families
What qualities do children value in family relationships?
Silence and resistance: Responses to neglect and abuse
The meanings and implications of parental absence
Who else cares at home?
3. The familiar world of the neighbourhood
The adult worlds of local neighbourhoods
Physical dangers in the local neighbourhood
Social dangers in the immediate neighbourhood
4. Segregated and integrated spaces: Mobility and identity beyond the neighbourhood
Mapping the Valley
Why go beyond the neighbourhood?
Identity, othering and the inhibition of mobility
Global cultures, shared spaces and crossing boundaries
Schooling and social integration
5. The Real Worlds of Public Schooling
Schooling after apartheid: Reform without improvement
Resource inequalities despite the reallocation of public spending
The process of schooling
The quality of schooling: Views from Ocean View and Masiphumelele
What makes a good teacher?
Peers and discipline
6. The social aspects of schooling: Navigating an educational career
The everyday influence of home life on childrens schooling
What do parents and adolescents expect from education?
Schools as arena for negotiating friendship and social identity
Who leaves and who stays? Decision-making and the school career
7. Freedom, fitting in and foreign territories: The world of friends, dating and sex
The literature on adolescent sex and dating
Relationships in adolescence
Parent-child interactions and sex
Rebellion, peer pressure and anxieties
Style and status
(Mis)trust and infidelity
Pregnancy and parenthood
Images, choices and self-care
Making inroads and negotiating the crossroads: The road less travelled
8. The quiet violence of contemporary segregation in Cape Town
Adolescents responses to questions about personal control
Talk about self, care and control, and why personal efficacy matters
Perspectives on what shapes control over self
Inter-generational reciprocity and nurture in the home
Geography, mobility and the claiming of community
Schooling and control
Marking transitions and securing social status in the peer group
Transitions to adulthood: Directions for further research