Studies of ‘young carers’ in sub-Saharan Africa have increased in recent years. A focus on ‘children’ caring for parents with HIV, and other chronic illnesses, has meant the role of older youth has often been neglected in discussions of caregiving, particularly how caring influences their futures and life transitions. This is despite evidence which suggests that ‘young adults’ (aged 18-24) are more likely than children to undertake informal care work within the family as well as to head households and families in times of illness and death. It is essential therefore to theorize how such experiences shape their transitions to adulthood. Young people in Zambia are under increasing pressure to obtain a good education and employment to support their families and make 'successful' transitions to 'adulthood', whilst in some instances also having to cope with the loss of parents and care for relatives with little external support. This chapter reviews the current literature surrounding ‘youth transitions’ within the geographies of children and youth. It focuses on the role of transitions in Africa, particularly the growing importance of education and securing employment in young people’s expected ‘pathways to adulthood’. It positions this within the context of young caregiving in Zambia and the impact that increased responsibility to care for sick or disabled relatives has on young people as they try to achieve independent adulthood. It concludes that the transition to adulthood for African youth is becoming increasingly uncertain, with the social status of ‘adult’ more difficult to achieve. It recognises that Zambian youth are often caught in a ‘liminal position’ between youth and adulthood and are unable to make the socially expected transitions liked to their age and lifecourse stage (Day and Evans, 2015).
|Title of host publication
|Labouring and learning
|Subtitle of host publication
|geographies of children and young people
|Tatek Abede, Johanna Waters, Tracey Skelton
|Published - 30 Jul 2017
|Geographies of Children and Young People
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Making the transition to adulthood in Zambia: a comparison of the experiences of caregiving and non-caregiving youthAuthor: Day, C., 28 May 2014
Supervisor: Evans, R. (External person) (Supervisor) & Bowlby, S. (External person) (Supervisor)
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis