Alcinda Honwana

Youth in movement

The world has never been so young, with about 1.8 billion between the ages of 10 and 24, the majority of whom live in developing countries. But young people’s transitions to adulthood have become increasingly uncertain. Watch our 100th #KAPTalks with guest speaker, Alcinda Honwana.

Friday 26.01.2018

Across the globe a growing number of young women and men, both educated and non-educated, find themselves unemployed or underemployed, and have to improvise livelihoods outside of dominant economic frameworks.

Alcinda Honwana discusses waithood – a liminal space in which young people are neither dependent children nor fully autonomous adults.

Young people in waithood are living in the periphery of major socio-economic processes, sometimes migration and often no longer trusting the ability of their leaders to deliver on their needs and expectations.

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Professor Alcinda Honwana is Inter-Regional Adviser on social development policy at the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs. She is also a visiting professor of Anthropology and International Development at the Open University in the UK, where she held the Chair in International Development and directed the International Development Center from 2005-2010. Honwana was also a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council in New York, and taught anthropology at the New School of Social Research in New York and at the University of Cape Town. She has carried out extensive research on political conflict and politics of culture; on the impact of war on children and youth; as well as on youth politics, social movements and political protest. Her books include: Youth and Revolution in Tunisia (2013); The Time of Youth: Work, Social Change and Politics in Africa (2012);  Child Soldiers in Africa (2006); Living Spirits, Modern Traditions: Spirit Possession and Post-War Healing in Southern Mozambique (2003); and a co-edited volume Makers & Breakers: Children and Youth in Postcolonial Africa (2005). Professor Honwana  is currently the Chair of the International African Institute (IAI) and an Editor of the African Arguments Book Series with Zed Books.​

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