Top 9 issues faced by youth in Botswana

Drug and alcohol abuse


Not so long ago smoking, amongst youth was implied as cool. As a result everyone was doing it, including kids. Well, as awareness to the danger of smoking increased, “cool” images of smoking disappeared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about drugs and alcohol. These vices are staples in everyday media. Simply, drinking and using drugs is shown as being cool. Our kids are literally moving around in an intoxicated daze. Immature behaviour is then amplified due to being under the influence. Drunk driving, poor grades and attendance, anti-social and violent behaviour and the list goes on.


Essentially, parents provide kids with whatever they want that is within our financial ability to do so. The concept of “earning” what you get or the idea that something “you don’t need” seem to have been lost and discarded. We have a mentality of getting what we want and when we want it that has been ingrained in us since childhood. The unfortunate result is that there are devastating consequences for such continued behaviour later in life. Findings suggest that more materialistic youth tend to shop more and save less. They are most interested in new products and most responsive to advertising and promotional efforts. Their parents view them as more expert with regard to products and they wield more purchase influence on their parents. Parents who are more materialistic tend to have children who are more materialistic. This study also reveals a modest negative relation between materialism and liking for school and school performance. School graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things, but less likely to say they’re willing to work hard to earn them,”

Shopping bags, Monbiot

Growing up too fast

There was a time when kids enjoyed being kids. Today, even at the earliest of ages, children are partaking in adult activities with serious consequences. Similar to what we see with alcohol and drugs, sex is a very popular and portrayed subject matter. The movies, TV, the internet, essentially everywhere a kid turns he or she is bombarded with sexual suggestions. Music is a culprit as well. Songs have always had sexual innuendos, but at least “back in the day” you had to be old enough to understand them. Today, it’s all about “How low can you go” and “baby let me sex you up.” Kids are having sex as early as 10 and 11, with teen pregnancies increasingly on the rise. The concept of childhood is literally being wiped out.


Violent thoughts and actions are permeating the youth of our society. People who feel slighted or oppressed turn to violence as the answer. From school and college students who plan and carry out massacres of fellow students and teachers, to violent gangs who beat innocent victims for fun, to young adults who plan violence to post on YouTube, young people are turning to violence. It has become one of the many concerns in our society. From youth trying to kill their parents; to boyfriends killing their girlfriends or students being sworn to privacy while attacking their counter parts at varsity.

The list goes on.

Single parent homes

The problems begin at home. The number of single parent homes has consistently increased to the point of catastrophe. Raising a child is difficult enough in a two parent home, especially in tough economic conditions. The situation is even direr when there is only one parent. Economically, a single parent is likely to bring less income home. This equates to fewer opportunities for such vital necessities as education. Trying to make ends meet also takes time – time that is spent away from children who need a parent’s guiding/influence. Absent a parent’s diligent guidance, children become subject to higher dropout rates, higher risk of dangerous sexual behaviours and pregnancies, higher chances of drug and alcohol abuse –etc. It truly takes a village to raise a child.


Education disparity


Education is important. Few people would dispute this well regarded fact. A good education (in comparison with a bad one) will provide a child with an increased chance of taking advantage of opportunities to be successful in life. Unfortunately, some people have it better than other. This is not an issue of just one school being better than another school. Rather we are talking about whole education system where children being denied a proper education that will prepare them to compete in a job market with their peers. Disparity in educational quality is delineated by race and financial status. If you live in a poor neighbourhood or are a minority, there is a good chance that the schools you attend are lacking many necessities. Therefore job opportunities are lessened for dropouts and those who generally have not performed well.


Unemployed people are looking for work and available for work. The underemployed are either unemployed or employed part time but wanting to work full time — this is a more complete measure than an unemployment measure is of the number of people who need more work. Young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are three times more likely than their older counterparts to be unemployed. Botswana Core Welfare Indicators Poverty Survey of 2009/2010 released in December 2011 is the latest poverty and unemployment record. It indicates that of the total unemployment rate of 17.8 percent, 35 percent are young people.

A total of 1520,200 youth was recorded by the 2010 Poverty Survey, of which the ages of 20-24 had the highest unemployment rate of 18 651. Generally, 126, 349 youth were unemployed while 584,251 were employed and 710,600 economically employed.  Botswana’s population is relatively made up of young people with approximately 57 percent under 25 years and 20 percent in the 15 to 24 years age-range.


Poverty impedes learning and contributes to social and behavioural problems. And guess what? There is no income to counteract these problems. Mommy cannot afford to buy school uniform, or a tutor or Daddy cannot afford to buy books. There is a huge opportunity for society to stop being so materialistic and in turn poverty wouldn’t be such an issue because most children will all have the same things –things they need instead of what they want. This would decrease violence in schools because fewer kids would be teased.

Erosion of national pride

There is very little sense of collective identity of people, as Batswana. This is a result of our children not being properly educated and guided on the importance of unity, embracing our culture. There was a time when every child would begin the school day by standing and reciting the National Anthem with so much respect to it. Children were taught the significance of the 30th September besides the parades and fireworks. These practices are long gone and so is our sense of common culture and destiny. With so many diverse nationalities and ethnic groups that comprise Botswana, the one common bond we all have with one another is that we are Batswana.


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