Opportunity or Threat: The Engagement of Youth in African Societies

:The chapters in this monograph speak to the delicate challenges that face African countries when it comes to the dynamic of youth. The United Nations General Assembly defines youth as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years. The African Youth Charter defines youth as individuals aged 15 to 35 years, and this can be explained by the longer time it takes for people to become economically independent on the African continent. It is important to note here that whilst it might be easy to classify youth in one group and they are often referred to in this manner, youth are not a homogenous group. The chapters in this monograph examine the dynamics of the youth population on the basis of underlying relationships and social structures. The chapters seek to interrogate whether conflict and subsequent post-conflict societies enable new opportunities to change structures, so as to effect constructive change that enhances both the participation and survival of youth – and which will consequently contribute to enhancing their place as a constituency of peace. The chapter contributions also aim to contribute to works on preventative action. The presumption here is that in instances of violent conflict, youth are often assimilated as instruments of war."