Covid-19 has meant that the national conversation about the youth has taken on new urgency. Young people are among those who have been hardest hit by unemployment and deepening poverty since the onset of the pandemic. The country’s unemployment rate, which reached a peak of 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021, speaks volumes. Unemployment is highest among those aged 15-24 years (64.4%) and 25-34 years (42.9%).
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s long-awaited appointment of the new National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board has, once again, put what he termed “the country’s drive to empower young people” in the spotlight.