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Uncertain future for 'born free' youth

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 02:09

April 23 - South Africa's 'Freedom Day' will mark the twentieth anniversary of the end of apartheid. For the first generation to grow up with no segregation, it's reason to celebrate - but also to take stock of a 40% youth unemployment rate, a struggling economy and a government accused of incompetence. Hayley Platt reports.

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April 27th 1994. A momentous day. The end of apartheid as millions of black South Africans, including Nelson Mandela, vote in its first multiracial elections. Mandela went on to become the its first black president amid a new optimism. Twenty years on and Sabelo Fumba is one of the so-called 'born-free' generation. He's campaigning in Soweto for the Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical leftist party which currently holds 4 percent of the vote. (SOUNDBITE) (Zulu) BORN FREE/STUDENT, SABELO FUMBA, SAYING: "I can study where I want to study, I can wear what I want to wear, I can go where I want to go. I'm able to go out partying with white kids, which could never be done before, I can say I'm politically free. But economically I'm not free." Sabelo is studying for a degree in political science. That doesn't guarantee him a job after he graduates. Forty percent of the country's youth are unemployed and many have little confidence for the future. The ANC, South Africa's ruling party, are on course to win the next election on May 7. But after four years of recession and a string of corruption claims many young people believe it's time for change. Moeletsi Mbeki is a political economist. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ECONOMIST, MOELETSI MBEKI, SAYING: "They can see what's wrong in the country, they've been through the schooling system, they can see the mismanagement of the education in the country, they have been the victims of the mismanagement of the public sector, education system, so they are very aware of the problems the country is faced with and and I think they will vote accordingly" South Africa's economy has been damaged by ongoing strikes at its platinum mines. One industry website puts the total cost of the strike at $1.6 billion dollars. The central bank has revised its growth forecast down from 2.8% to 2.7% this year. Still high by European standards - but way below what some say is needed to tackle the country's joblessness and other problems.

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Uncertain future for 'born free' youth

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 02:09