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Youth, democratic evaluation and electoral predispositions (SASAS)

14 June 2018
12:30 - 14:00

Ben Roberts, Jarè Struwig, Steven Gordon, Yul Derek Davids, Thobeka Radebe, Ngqapheli Mchunu and Samela Mytingizane, DGSD, HSRC

Dr Greg Houston, DGSD, HSRC

Date: 14 June 2018    Time: 12:30 – 14:00  Venues: Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town

As South Africa’s 2019 elections and the commemoration of a quarter-century of democracy draw nearer, two prevailing representations of youth are commonplace. The first portrays young South Africans as politically engaged, drawing on the experiences of the recent #FeesMustFall Movement as well as reflections of the youth activism of the 1980s. In contrast, the second image tends to depict a generation as politically disillusioned and disengaged from conventional politics, as part of a broader narrative concerning democratic recession and crisis.

This seminar provides an overview of representative survey data spanning the last two decades in order to critically engage with these stereotypes. The civic values, behavioural norms and intentions of youth will be examined through an intergenerational lens to better understand whether substantive differences in political culture and democratic orientation exist.

It will also profile differences among youth, in order to reflect on the degree of solidarity or polarisation in political support and values that exists. Gaining an appreciation of these dynamics is instrumental to the future of electoral democracy in the country, especially given the increasingly sizable share of the electorate that the post-apartheid generation represents.

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact: Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:
Cape Town: HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen Erasmus, Tel: (021) 466 7827, e-mail:
Durban:  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001. Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel: (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786, e-mail:

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

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