The youth share their financial and other experiences of the lockdown

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A man holds a poster with the words "we are hungry, let's protect each other" on it to mark the Youth Day holiday in Soweto. Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP
A man holds a poster with the words "we are hungry, let's protect each other" on it to mark the Youth Day holiday in Soweto. Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP


Young people believe that they are worse off as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown because they have lost money-making opportunities and learnerships, according to a survey by Lucha Lunako.

Lucha Lunako – a youth development lab that helps build pathways to decent work through partnership, collaboration and innovation – conducted its poll in May and June among youths aged 18 to 34 years, via WhatsApp.

Eight hundred and fourteen young people completed the poll and the majority (66%) of respondents lived in Gauteng, 17% in the Western Cape and another 17% resided in other provinces across the country.

A huge majority, 70% of the respondents are, however, of the opinion that the lockdown was the right choice for government to protect people from contracting the virus. Only 52% of young people now feel that the lockdown is still needed to help curb the spread of the virus.

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“This can be as a result of the youth believing that they are worse off because of the lockdown for a variety of reasons, including that 30% of respondents feel they have lost money because of the lockdown and 14% have lost jobs or learnerships. A noteworthy percentage of respondents (28%) admitted that they borrowed money as a result of the lockdown, which has put them deeper into debt, while one in three can’t go out to look for work anymore,” said Lucha Lunako founder, Alana Bond.

These financial effects, the Lucha Lunako team said, were surprisingly low considering what had been expected of the South African slowdown. Lucha Lunako believes that it would be worthwhile to re-evaluate the financial impact later in 2020/2021.

The survey found that 62.5% of young people were “very worried” about the coronavirus, and, consequently, 87% of young people polled were wearing face masks when going to the shops, in order to avoid being infected, and 78% adhered to social distancing while in public.

“In terms of additional safety and precautionary measures being taken by young people, 41% of the respondents stated that they were either taking flu medicine or vitamin C supplements to help boost their immune systems. Worryingly, 25% of young people acknowledged that, within their communities, people were still socialising outside their homes,” Bond said.

Sources of Covid-19 news

A large proportion of the youth (80%) said that they preferred obtaining information on Covid-19 by listening to President Ramaphosa’s announcements.

“A large percentage (57%) also keep abreast around the latest coronavirus and national lockdown developments through mainstream media, while Google searches (53%), WhatsApp (41%) and other social media platforms, such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (36%), are also popular news sources for young South Africans. This is particularly interesting given the concerns regarding fake news and inaccurate information sharing,” said Bond.

Staying indoors

When asked about how they kept busy during lockdown, 53% of the respondents said that they had spent their time watching TV and social media or connecting with friends (25%). About 35% said that they had felt frustrated.

21% saying that they had found all the extra time with their family stressful

Some strain on family relationships was reflected, with 21% saying that they had found all the extra time with their family stressful. However, 41% said they had found the extra time alright.

“The Covid-19 Youth Quick Poll by Lucha Lunako has shown that the youth have some pretty strong opinions about the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown. Moreover, the youth of South Africa are also able to provide insights around the challenges being experienced due to the pandemic and want to be part of the solution. In many cases they want to be the solution, and just need some practical help from those around them in order to be positively mobilised towards their futures and to positively affect their communities,” Bond said.


Sizwe sama Yende 


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