Zimbabwe celebrated its independence just over 40 years ago. While the nation is no longer young, its population certainly is: over 60% are under the age of 35. Understanding youth perspectives and experiences is therefore vitally important. Fending for Ourselves reviews the recent histories and realities of youths in Zimbabwe, offering a distinguished range of authors exploring issues of education, employment and work, the urban experience, involvement in the informal economy, mental health, and political activity. Importantly, the collection examines successive generations of youth in Zimbabwe to show how ideas, experiences and reactions to the social, political, and economic context have shifted over time.
Many of the issues affecting youth over the past 40 years have been traumatic and distressing – physical and mental abuse, declining employment and educational opportunities, poverty, ill-health and loss of hope – but this collection underlines the agency and resilience of Zimbabwe’s young people, and how they have found ways to navigate the political, social, and economic terrains they occupy.