‘Growing up’ after apartheid

The combination of quantitative and qualitative research on childhood and adolescence has constituted one of the SSU’s primary activities since 2001. Quantitative data have been collected primarily through the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), which has followed the lives of a panel of adolescents since 2002 (as well as collecting extensive retrospective data on their lives prior to 2002). Complementary qualitative research has been conducted through a series of projects.

A book on childhood and adolescence in southern Cape Town is to be published in 2010 by the HSRC Press under the title of Growing Up in the New South Africa: Childhood and Adolescence in Post-Apartheid Cape Town. The book was co-authored by Rachel Bray and Jeremy Seekings together with three postgraduate students in the CSSR: Imke Gooskens, Lauren Kahn and Sue Moses. It combines detailed qualitative research with data from CAPS. Several papers were also published in a special issue of the journal Social Dynamics (vol.32, n.1) in 2006, and elsewhere.

A related project was conducted in collaboration with Professor Katherine Newman of the Sociology Department at Princeton University. Fifty in-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted in late 2007 and early 2008 with adolescents across Cape Town, focusing on the evolution of their aspirations and expectations, their experiences of school, their entry into the labour market, their perceptions of opportunities, and their attitudes towards and experiences of health. This project was managed by Ariane de Lannoy, who also completed in 2008 her PhD thesis on Educational Decision-making in an Era of AIDS.