Resilience or tolerance? Contextualising youth resilience under economic and political adversity

Lloyd Pswarayi


Drawing on the lives of youth living in precarious conditions, we analyse in this paper
the ways in which the youth in Zimbabwe respond to varied shocks that they face in
their everyday lives. We note that for many years the political and economic challenges
have eroded the capacities of many Zimbabweans, but the impact on the youth has
been discernibly high. Yet the youth have remarkably survived the tenacity of political,
social and economic challenges. Many people have described this response as
resilience. As such we seek to test this aspect of bouncing back in view of social,
economic and political developments in Zimbabwe since 2000 and determine if this can
be an aspect of resilience or its just sheer luck. We want to know why this phenomenon
is uniquely Zimbabwean? Why did the Zimbabwean youth fail to get to the tipping
point? What can be learnt from this? We use meta-analysis and direct interviews of the
key informant and individual youth to test our hypotheses that Zimbabwean youth
have an outstanding way of responding to shocks and are able to re-bounce back
without necessarily being recruited into forces of violence, crime or anarchy.


Key words: Zimbabwe, Resilience, Youth, Crisis, Violence, Crime

Lloyd Pswarayi, Researcher, Research and Advocacy Unit, Email:

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