Book review: A guide to adolescence

2017-03-26 06:34

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Esnath Muzenda

Young people constitute a large and rapidly growing portion of Africa’s population.

Youth Power, originally published in 1990 and recently reprinted, is a ­powerful book that holds particular ­relevance for today’s youth, who face myriad challenges.

Agrippa Goodman Khathide offers practical principles, backed up by biblical examples, to help the youth to understand and use the divine weapons at their disposal to live a victorious Christian life while coping with secular society’s demands.

He notes that, aside from all the usual moral challenges faced by young people, such as substance abuse and teenage pregnancy, “modernisation and Western influences have helped to erode traditional African values” that can assist them in dealing with their problems.

In defining adolescence, Khathide quotes from an ­expert source: “It’s the most confusing, challenging, frustrating and fascinating phase of human development.”

He gives a holistic focus on adolescence, detailing the physical, psychological, ­social and emotional developmental ­stages involved.

In African societies, adolescence ­often entails young people having to ­undergo certain rites of passage to shape their adulthood.

Yet today’s world has become ­increasingly complex, hi-tech and ­multicultural, placing new demands on the youth in terms of education, training and the social and emotional skills required to navigate this highly competitive environment.

Khathide affirms that it is critical for parents, the church and the community to provide a support system based on care and understanding.

The importance of youths’ involvement in the church is emphasised and placed in an African context.

In addition, Khathide discusses subjects such as choosing a life partner, sex, abortion, HIV and Aids, and the role of the church in dealing with such issues.

This book will hold your attention from the first to the last page ­because, in acknowledging that a country’s future lies in the hands of its young people, the writer goes all out to equip readers with clear guidelines on how to be effective leaders in society.

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