Rebels, Activists, and Repairers: Youth and Social Change in Africa
University of Kansas
This item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
The popular media commonly depicts children and young people in Africa as either hopelessly undernourished and in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, or as dangerous, unruly and caught up in violence, gang activity, and warfare. As a result there has been a cascade of nongovernmental organizations, relief projects, and development assistance programs over the past three decades that have emerged across the continent. I suggest that while these efforts have had good intentions, they have served to perpetuate the notion that people in Africa are incapable of improving their own social, political, and economic conditions. I argue that youth in Africa have and express agency through education, labor, and mobility, and that their potential to invoke social change can be hindered by an imagined Africa wherein people depend on outside support and intervention for all manner of things. Through activism, collaboration, reparation, and innovation, youth in Africa are dedicated to improving social and economic conditions for themselves, their families, and their communities. By shifting the focus of the media and academia from victimhood to culturally relevant notions of selfhood, we can transform our perceptions of Africa from a continent with a past riddled with tragedy and oppression, to a future laden with potential and dignity. In the face of such obstacles as scarcity, economic instability and civil unrest, youth in Africa have expressed leadership, action, and dedication to their communities in an ongoing and unrelenting struggle to establish a peaceful and prosperous social landscape for themselves and generations to come.
- Anthropology Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.