Youth Resilience and Violence Prevention: Some Insight from Selected Locations in Zimbabwe
Keywords:youth, violence, resilience, agency, politics, participation
This article draws on qualitative research that was conducted in four areas in Zimbabwe, namely, Lupane, Bulawayo, Chipinge and Mutare. The aim was to extend the use of the concept of “resilience” in relation to working with the youth and preventing violence. Through the concept of “the everyday” it analysed how the youth was surviving in an environment that had undergone nearly two decades of socio-economic and political decline, resulting in high levels of unemployment. The methods used to obtain data were focus-group discussions and individual interviews. The findings showed that the youth applied all the elements associated with resilience (e.g. adapting to the environment, absorbing the pressures that the environment posed, and employing transformative elements) in an effort to emerge in a better position despite having to contend with an environment fraught with many difficulties and risks, which included drug and substance abuse as well as being coopted to participate in violence. Gaining an understanding of the ways the youth navigated environmental, political and social factors was difficult; consequently it was problematic in such a developmental context to define resilience. Nevertheless, the study provided some insights into how young people’s decisions about violence participation were informed. Contrary to dominant current discourses that portray the youth as violent, this study showed that many young people avoided relationships that carried the risk of their being mobilised to take part in violence.
How to Cite