An overwhelming majority of young South Africans believe in the importance of remembering events like the 1976 Soweto Uprising.
This is just one of the findings of a series of Youth Day polls that have been run on YoungAfricaLive (YAL) over the past few weeks, ahead of this year’s commemoration of the June 16th uprising. The mobile platform is increasingly becoming a powerful way to take the temperature of young South Africans and Africans on issues relating to the challenges that they face on a daily basis, as well as the important issues that they have strong opinions on.
In a poll to YAL’s user community – which currently stands at over a million and is growing daily – over 7 000 respondents weighed in on the question of whether it’s “important to remember the past on national holidays”.
A stunning majority (87%) of YAL users taking the poll said the struggle fought for freedom should never be forgotten. 7% said it was the future that matters - with just 4% admitting they were “glad to have the day off”.
In another Youth Day poll, YAL users were asked what they believed to be the single biggest problem facing South Africa’s youth. Of the close to 9000 responses that the poll received, the majority (35%) cited unemployment.
Other challenges identified by YAL’s users in the poll were teenage pregnancy (26%), HIV (11%), alcohol and drug abuse (21%) and poverty (5%).
Ahead of the June 16th Youth Day celebrations, users were asked if “today’s youth generation will do a better job in the future than today’s leaders”.
Of the close to 6 917 votes received, the majority (64%) hedged their bets, responding “Maybe”, with the proviso that this would be possible only if youths could survive the current education and unemployment crisis. A significant 21% were confident, agreeing that today’s leaders were stuck in the politics of the past while the youth held a new vision for South Africa. A smaller percentage – 14% - were pessimistic, describing theirs as the so-called “lost generation”.
The cautious approach displayed in this poll was reflected in another poll, published on YAL’s home page on June 12th. In under 24 hours, 5 846 YAL users had posted their responses to the weighty question of their future. The majority (52%) were cautious about their future as young South Africans, agreeing that there are significant problems facing the country, but believing that they could be overcome. Significantly, 28% felt “hopeless” and overwhelmed by the challenges facing them, while just 18% were optimistic about the future.
YAL runs regular polls, designed to give valuable insight into the beliefs, opinions and decisions taken by Africa’s youth.
YoungAfricaLive has been developed for young guys and girls by the Praekelt Foundation and is supported by the Vodacom Foundation. Access to the mobile platform is free and works even when users have no airtime. YoungAfricaLive’s focus is on hearing real stories about the conflicting (and often confusing) worlds of sex, love and relationships, straight from the mouths of youth. Users interact on the YoungAfricaLive mobile platform where a cross-section of young contributors from all over South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya share their feelings and thoughts on relevant issues. Users can post comments and in so doing generate discussions.
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About Praekelt Foundation
Established in 2006, Praekelt Foundation is Africa’s leading developer of mobile solutions to improve people’s lives. From its Johannesburg-base, the social-business brings life-saving and life-changing information and services to people in Africa and in other developing markets. Praekelt Foundation believes that mobile phones provide the most potent way of effecting change for good within communities living in poverty.