This research report presents the findings of case study research with youth in six locations in Zimbabwe, carried out within the Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency (PVCA) programme. It shows how young people experience growing up as citizens in a country known for its repressive regime, and highlights the differences for young men and young women.
Young people consider political violence as one of many forms of violence and other challenges they face in life. Election periods bring increased risk, when youth feel targeted. After the turbulence of elections has waned, surveillance by state security agents persists, affecting how young people use the public sphere. Between elections, forms of structural violence pose more challenges to youth than physical, political violence: patronage along party or ethnic lines is a major barrier to finding jobs, and generational differences deny young people a voice. High unemployment levels can result in youth participating in violence orchestrated by political actors.
This research shows also that family and peers have a strong influence on how young people choose to engage in the public sphere and respond to the polarised political environment. Youth empowerment strategies thus need to go beyond economic empowerment. This report argues that a shift in vision is required so that government, aid agencies and civil society recognise the importance of active citizenship among youth and make it a priority area for interventions. Programmes should build the citizen capabilities of young people and improve relations between them, their parents and communities, and public authority.
Turning the Tide: The role of collective action for addressing structural and gender-based violence in South Africa
The case study discussed in this Evidence Report explores the value and limitations of collective action in challenging the community, political, social and economic institutions that reinforce harmful masculinities and gender norms related to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). As such, the concept of structural violence is used to locate SGBV in a social, economic and political context that draws histories of entrenched inequalities in South Africa into the present. The research findings reinforce a relational and constructed understanding of gender emphasising that gender norms can be reconfigured and positively transformed. It is argued that this transformation can be catalysed through networked and multidimensional strategies of collective action that engage the personal agency of men and women and their interpersonal relationships at multiple levels and across boundaries of social class, race and gender. This collectivity needs to be conscious of and engaged with the structural inequalities that deeply influence trajectories of change. Citizens and civil society must work with the institutions – political, religious, social and economic – that reinforce structural violence in order to ensure their accountability in ending SGBV.
What we live everyday is not right: Partnerships for accountability and safer cities in South Africa
This report aims to provide inspiration and impetus to those making decisions about how to implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It shows how local level experiences and ideas can contribute to greater accountability and ultimately to increasing the impact of policies and initiatives aimed at reaching the SDGs. The work featured here focuses on how to make cities and informal settlements safer and more inclusive, taking as a starting point the extremely high levels of insecurity and violence that characterise daily life for many within townships and informal settings in South Africa.