VIEWS: 50 PAGES: 17 CATEGORY: Childrens Literature POSTED ON: 11/29/2009
Compare Vol. 36, No. 1, March 2006, pp. 5–21 What citizenship responsibility means to Botswana’s young adults: implications for adult education Julia Preece*a with Dama Mosweunyaneb aUniversity of Glasgow, UK; bUniversity of Botswana, Botswana Politicians and other leaders in Botswana have recently expressed concerns that the country’s ‘youth’ is not taking its citizenship responsibilities seriously. This is in a context of rapid change and development in the last thirty years since Botswana’s independence in 1966. The study described here explored the learned perceptions of citizenship responsibility amongst a selection of Botswana’s young adults and youth leaders. These perceptions were analysed in relation to theories of social capital citizenship and learning. The findings suggest that the influences of globalisation are producing a shift from traditional communitarian citizenship values to ones of ‘enlightened self interest’. However, civil society is under-developed and needs nurturing through an educational strategy that encourages participatory approaches to development. Some of the arguments articulated here are elaborated on in a book (Preece & Mosewunyane, 2004). Keywords: Citizenship; Young adults; Botswana; Focus group Introduction Concerns about attitudes towards citizenship responsibility and the growth of individualism amongst young people are now a global concern. (see Van Benschoten, 2000; Vromen, 2003 for instance). In Botswana these concerns are exacerbated for a number of reasons. Firstly the country has experienced rapid transitions over a period of thirty years from being one of the poorest countries in the world to its current status as a middle-income country. Secondly, and associated to the first, is Botswana’s experience of globalisation represented through imported goods, cultures, services and foreigners that are played out as a new form of colonisation over traditional lifestyles. Thirdly, and associated with the first two, is the vast discrepancy in lifestyle, attitudes and values between the growing urban populations and the rural areas. Botswana’s young adults, constituting 70% of the country’s population, were all born during this period of growth and change. The perceived erosion of traditional values, duties and responsibilities amongst this generation are often attributed to the influences of globalisation, foreigners and urbanisation. Botswana’s citizens of today, it is argued, are too concerned with their rights and not prepared to consider their responsibilities seriously enough (Mogae, 2001). In spite of these claims, there has been no empirical investigation into what the young people themselves feel about their rights and responsibilities, how they have learned citizenship values or the impact of globalisation on their lives. This paper reports on a qualitative study that sought to explore perceptions of citizenship responsibility amongst the generation who were born and brought up during the last thirty-five years in Botswana (the nation’s period of independence). It argues that these young people are responsible, but they are so in a context of enlightened self-interest, rather than through the traditional concept of duty for duty’s sake. The paper uses for its analytical framework, Delanty’s theoretical rendering of communitarian, civic republican and discursive or deliberative democracy citizenships. It draws on notions of social capital in relation to communitarianism and civic republicanism. Concepts of globalisation and urban culture (Clammer, 2003) and learning (Illeris, 2003) also inform the analysis. The research methodology involved individual interviews and focus groups from across the country (a total 98 people). A brief exposition of the methodology prefaces the theoretical framework, followed by presentation and analysis of the findings. The final section offers some recommendations for developing youth citizenship that builds on indigenous value systems but with recognition of the need for Botswana to be a player, rather than passive recipient, in our rapidly changing world. Before discussing the methodology, however, it will be useful to introduce some basic information about the country itself and its concept of youth. Botswana Botswana is a landlocked, semi desert country approximately the size of France. Urban areas are increasing in size and now house nearly half the country’s population of approximately 1.7 million. The country has experienced unprecedented peace in a region that is often marked by conflict. Free and fair elections have been held every five years since Independence in 1966, though the same political party always wins and has gained a reputation of ‘authoritarian liberalism’ (Good, 1996, 2003). Although officially classed as a middle income country due mostly to exportation of its diamond assets and beef, 36.7% of the country is still poor, with 30% categorised as extremely poor (UNDP, 2002). Unemployment is unofficially estimated to be at 40%, mostly affecting young people. Health and life expectancy had been increasing steadily since Independence (1966), but these gains are now seriously threatened by Botswana’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rates which are now among the highest in the world at 40% (Brigaldino, 2002). A multicultural expatriot community (approximately 7% of Botswana’s inhabitants) congregates in Botswana’s two largest cities, Gaborone (186,000 people) and Francistown (83,000 people). Most rural areas still lead a traditional agricultural, subsistence farming lifestyle, while urban areas contain hi-technology, sophisticated shopping malls and other fashion, media and architecture infrastructures typical of urban cultures (Clammer, 2003). Whilst the country’s indigenous population speaks over twenty languages, Setswana, the national language, and English, the official language, are the teaching media in schools. Christianity is a dominant religion practised by 50% of the population. The concept of youth is widely regarded as a contested issue in today’s society in view of the gendered meanings associated with ‘youth’ and where the boundaries of life transitions are increasingly blurred (Plug et al, 2003; Jeffs & Smith, 2004). In the Botswana context age transitions from school to post-school reinforce this blurring since school is not compulsory. Initial schooling, therefore can start at any age, meaning some people do not complete their secondary school before the end of their teens. For the purpose of ‘youth activity’ the Botswana National Youth Policy (1996) and National Action Plan for Youth (2001) define youth as between the ages of 15 to 25. A further issue for females is that women, in customary law, always remain minors in relation to fathers, husbands or other male relatives (Griffiths, 1997). In this paper, we prefer to use the term young adults, though the interviewees themselves referred to themselves as youth. Research approach The University of Botswana funded the research. It was carried out by one white British female and one Black male Motswana (citizen of Botswana) using Setswana as his first language and fluent in English. We wanted to capture the perceptions, views, interpretations and experiences of the young adults from their perspective. We chose, therefore, a qualitative, phenomenological approach that would enable us to pursue attitudes and interrelationships between the youth and their communities. We were interested in understanding what values they had learned, acquired and perhaps re-evaluated in the light of their own experiences. Our research questions were as follows: With reference to individual perceptions of rights, responsibilities and traditional values: How has the country’s development affected citizenship participation amongst the post-independence generation? How have they learned and interpreted community, family and societal values? How do they interpret their responsibilities in society and in their changing urban/ rural communities? What perception do people have regarding participation for minorities and women? We selected people between the ages of 18 and 25 (drawn primarily from youth organisations and the official, adult ‘youth’ age group for Botswana) and also between the ages of 26–35 (to cover the total age span of the adult, postindependence generation). Ultimately we only obtained interviews with one group in the latter age cohort. Since their answers were similar to the larger cohort, we have not distinguished their replies in the data. All participants had been educated up to secondary level and nearly all had left school. The twelve focus groups consisted of various youth organisations from across the country, ranging from five to 14 people in each group. These organisations included a Christian Council run youth group, youth drama and music groups, self initiated income generating groups, a workcamp culture exchange project, plus a rural youth centre and a vocational training group for girls who had dropped out of secondary school. With the exception of the latter two groups, all organisations consisted of both male and female participants. Voluntary follow up interviews with eleven individuals (male and female) from across the focus groups provided us with supplementary biographical information and also served to triangulate the key points obtained in the groups. The older age cohort were students from the Adult Education Department at the University of Botswana. We interviewed five youth leaders and two senior politicians for the purposes of comparison. The politicians provided political perspectives on the country’s vision for its younger generation, as well as an historical perspective on the country before independence. All participants were from Botswana’s two majority ethnic groups for whom Setswana is their first or second language. Methodological issues The process of investigating ‘citizenship’ in Botswana raises a number of methodological and conceptual issues. The research was conducted in Setswana or English at the choice of the respondents. Beyond the concept of a citizen as someone who has been born or naturalised in Botswana, citizenship is an imported English word. Although the National Youth Policy (Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, 2000), written in English, uses the words ‘active citizenship’, and its national document Vision 2016 (Presidential Task Group, 1997) talks about citizens taking an ‘active part in society’, the notion of active citizenship does not have an equivalent translation in Setswana. Sometimes it had to be translated (interpreted as ‘industrious’ or ‘zeal to perform’) as a preliminary to asking our questions about citizenship. Even at the conceptual stage, therefore, we were already confronting issues of imperialism. Furthermore, focus groups in themselves are a controversial source for data collection. The advantages are that they provide an opportunity for people to freely express their opinions, feelings and perceptions about a given topic. They are often a preferred method for involving hard-to-reach groups. They have the potential, therefore to give voice to marginalised groups or people who would be uneasy about speaking in individual interviews. They also afford an opportunity to develop insights about how people make sense of, or give meaning to, their world. They provide opportunities for interaction and argument (Field, 2000) between participants. The discussion element of focus group interactions was useful in our case because of the newness of the topic and concepts, and also because youth often feel more confident to speak out in a group. However there are disadvantages. For instance people may not give their personal views, but rather contribute to a more general ‘Groupthink’ (Chioncel et al., 2003). Another issue relates to the dominance and passivity of some participants so that not everyone has an equal chance to speak. There is heavy reliance on the interviewer to act as a facilitator, in this respect, to ensure equal participation (Kitzinger & Barbour, 1999). Finally there are problems of transcription and identification of individual voices during transcribing. In our case we felt that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. For reasons of cost and time focus groups were a useful strategy to reach a sufficiently large cohort of people from across the country. There were, on occasions, difficulties in encouraging equal participation by all group members, but this was offset by the use of a roving microphone, which the interviewer used to capture individual contributions. Questions were focussed around a structured interview schedule to ensure relevant responses, with opportunity for expansion or clarification. Since there was no previous research to draw on in Botswana on this particular issue, discussions and disagreements allowed opportunity for exploring ideas and perceptions that could be compared across the different focus groups. Interviews and focus groups lasted from one to one and a half hours. They were taped, and supplemented by notes made during the interviews. Since Setswana was the preferred language for the majority of focus groups, and in order to minimise inhibitions about being questioned by a foreigner, the Setswana speaking researcher conducted most of the interviews outside of Gaborone. The interviews were all taped and transcribed. Our Setswana speaking researcher translated verbatim the Setswana tapes while the second researcher transcribed the translation simultaneously. Our analysis was a shared process of reinterpreting their reality. We followed the inductive, interpretive approach, whereby both researchers produced an initial reaction to the contents which could be coded across a broad range of themes. These thematic codes were progressively refined until they could be categorised under our selected core headings of Participation, Learning, Change and Responsibility, with a range of explanatory sub headings such as communitarianism, civic republicanism, social capital, intergenerational change and urban-rural differences. The findings were compared with relevant literature on globalisation, urbanisation, youth citizenship values and learning theories. Our primary concern, however, was to situate the data and analysis in the Botswana context and value systems. Statistical representativeness is not the aim of focus group research. Nevertheless we were looking for truth value in the form of research credibility. This means the results of the research would be believable from the perspective of the participants and justifiable through a process of data saturation (collecting sufficient data until no new evidence seemed forthcoming). Transferability, the extent to which results can be transferred to other contexts or settings, related in our case to the fact that we undertook the same inquiry across the country. The dependability or replicability control of research was also assured as a result of this initiative. The study’s confirmability, or how far the results could be confirmed by other research findings, was controlled by comparing our analysis with the literature review and studies from other countries (cf. Chioncel et al., 2003). The findings indicate which responses came from individuals or focus groups. Amongst the young people, however, the individual respondents elaborated on, rather than contradicted, their responses in the groups. Theoretical perspectives Citizenship is a contested term. It can be a status or an activity and can mean different forms of activity according to the discourse of a particular time and space. Whilst a number of European and other countries in the West have discussed citizenship research (Arthur, 2002; Preece, 2002; Putnam, 2000; Van der Veen, 2001, for instance), this is still relatively rare in the South East Asia and Africa (see Dean & Mohammed, 2003, for example). It was important, therefore, to adopt a theoretical approach that would have some currency in African contexts. Concepts of social capital, communitarianism and civic republicanism have already been discussed by writers such as Orvis (2001); Rotberg, 1999 and Ndegwa (2001). Delanty’s (2000) rendering of communitarian and civic republican citizenship, along with his discussion of deliberative or discursive democracy also seemed to be applicable to the data being generated by our research. These theories, therefore, formed our analytical framework and are briefly presented here. Social capital Social capital is now commonly argued as a form of capital that complements fiscal (monetary), human (skills based) and cultural (based on the behavioural attributes acquired through social class) capital. All these forms of capital are resources or assets that enable individuals to progress through society. Social capital represents the assets that are gained through social networks. Social capital manifests itself through forms of trust, norms of behaviour and reciprocities within defined community networks. The kind of networks and patterns of interaction that are perceived as creating strong social capital vary according to whether it is promoted in communitarian or civic republican terms. Baron, Field and Schuller (2000) compare, amongst others, Putnam’s (2000) and Coleman’s (1994) two strands of social capital under these two concepts. Coleman, they argue, promotes a more communitarian focus that emphasises the bonds between school, family, church and the immediate neighbourhood as indicators of trust and obligations within communities. These social relationships are seen as crucial in shaping broader patterns of behaviour. For Putnam, however, the focus for social capital is on building strong civil society. He emphasises the importance of family, neighbourhood and voluntary organisations as the resource for building personal relationships and positive citizenship activity. Communities with high social capital facilitate information flows and mutual bonding. Participation in political life and issues of community interest is consequently more effective (Field, 2001). It is argued that social capital contributes to building tolerant and democratic societies and political stability (Rotberg, 1999). Whilst social capital is not unproblematic (Baron, Field & Schuller, 2000; Silvey & Elmhirst, 2003, for example) social capital capacity building has implications for community education and development. Citizenship Delanty’s (2000) concepts of citizenship follow these two strands. Communitarian citizenship sees the community simply as something that stands for unity. The community is the cultural resource that ties people together. The self is culturally specific to that community. Incoming groups must adapt to this community and the state’s recognition of that community protects the majority culture through laws and regulations. In Botswana it will be seen that its Tswana culture is still a defining feature of community village life. Conservative communitarians, says Delanty, tend to stress a depoliticised community—one that emphasises family, religion, tradition, nature and a culture of consensus (p. 29). Traditional African communities sit easily within this frame of reference (Orvis, 2001). Here community is a source of moral voice. Communitarian citizenship places little responsibility on the state for society. It encourages voluntarism and self-help, and a commitment to each other. In African contexts this includes a spiritual dimension—manifested through God and the spirits of ancestors who watch over the dead, the living and those yet to be born. So community is bound by a sense of spiritual connectedness as well as obligations to social conformity and control (Avoseh, 2001). Civic republicanism, on the other hand, places more emphasis on civil society as a form of organised public activity that interacts with the state and community. So civil society rather than the community is the main source of citizenship activity. Whilst Orvis (2001) and Ndegwa (2001) both refer to African versions of civil society in the form of patron client networks and ethnic groups, rather than independently constructed organisations, both forms of civil society promote conditional demands of trust, commitment and solidarity to the group. From here evolve social capital networks and reciprocities. Delanty introduces a third dimension to citizenship activity, however. This he sees as an evolutionary response to democracy and modern social issues that have been stimulated by globalisation and a concern to more directly challenge the state. These are defined as radical social movements that include feminism, peace movements, anti capitalist or international ecological activists such as Green Peace. Their defining feature is their ability to mobilise large segments of the population with the goal of bringing about social change by transforming traditional politics. This is a deliberative democracy that takes its position from Habermas and argumentative communication—deliberative, rather than consensual. The method is through mass communication. Deliberative democracy itself is now evolving from a confrontation based approach to a more discursive interaction with the state in the form of pressure groups. So discursive democracy ‘communicates problems and does not deal with solutions’ (p. 40): While direct democracy confined democracy to society and stressed public participation, discursive democracy is primarily concerned with the deliberative process within public communication. (Delanty, 2000, p. 40) The burden for change and responsibility now lies with the state, rather than the individual. Its role as a form of citizenship in Botswana is relatively limited, for reasons which will be outlined later. Nevertheless there are recent undercurrents of this form of citizenship amongst minority tribes and other activists for social change (Mazonde, 2002). Impinging on citizenship activities are the effects of globalisation processes in the form of culture, technologies and the media. However, globalisation is often seen as something that is done to African nations (Nyamnjoh, 2003) At best, it is reacted to, rather than shared as an equal player in development. As a result Africa and other emerging economies are experiencing new forms of domination by multinational companies and international institutions, such as the World Bank. The global culture of consumerism is placing a strain on traditional collective and communitarian values. As Harris (1996, p. 8) states: Globalisation has built a culture in which value is ascribed to things which many people know and want rather than to things which are particular and specific to distinct ways of living. The impact of individualisation and consumerism was very apparent in this study. Changing patterns of work and new forms of risk were all encroaching on traditional life, albeit to different degrees depending on whether one lived in an urban or rural area. The remaining part of this paper explores some of the ways in which life was changing and how interviewees were responding to these changes. We conclude with some recommendations for building on the best of the past for Botswana but with recognition of its rapidly changing context. Participation: active citizenship Participation issues related to examples of organisational membership and also to perceptions of active citizen goals. These are analysed according to Delanty’s three versions of citizenship. The majority of groups to which Botswana’s young adults belonged included local youth organisations or self sponsored groups. One or two were members of national civil society pressure groups such as Ditshwanelo (for human rights) or Emang Basadi (for women’s empowerment). A few identified wider affiliations such as Botswana Red Cross or MISA (Media Institution of Southern Africa). The most common membership, however, related to HIV/AIDS activities—either as peer educators or through counselling and guidance centres. The young adult generation are amongst the most vulnerable in the population for cultural, social and economic reasons (Preece & Ntseane, 2003). In this respect their activities demonstrated an ‘enlightened self interest’ (Van Benschoten, 2000). They perceived the impact of HIV/AIDS on their generation and wanted to do something about it. With few exceptions the young people’s interpretation of active citizenship followed a communitarian approach. This was evident in a number of ways. The majority of them used definitions like: Someone who makes his presence felt, who gets involved in activities that benefit the nation … to better the lives of others … always prepared to provide for those who are less fortunate … who is aware of what is going on in the country … eager to take responsibility either as organisational leaders or as community leaders … Active citizenship therefore was about taking part in a way that would benefit others. This could mean taking leadership roles, it could also mean having knowledge that could be used for the benefit of community or nation. One female, in her individual interview, gave a direct example of this kind of community support: I was involved in community projects, building waiting rooms for people waiting for buses. Concepts of harmony, family and spirituality all informed their sense of what was acceptable citizenship behaviour. This was particularly (though not exclusively) evident amongst females. For instance one member of a church group described how consideration of family still influenced everything she did: My parents—everything I do or choice I make I consider them first—like will they be happy, embarrassed, proud, everything like that. They have made me to know I should always consider them in the choices I make in life. It would be expected, therefore, that few supported more radical forms of citizenship activity, such as discursive democracy. Nevertheless many expressed tensions about the way they were excluded from participation in decision making. These tensions were reflected in the way that both males and females would feel marginalised through traditional consultation structures such as the kgotla (community meeting place), which is presided over by the chief and which privileges the voices of elderly men: In the decision making structures the youth are in most cases not represented … I must be given the opportunity to sit in decision making bodies so I can come up with ideas that will help the youth in the country (male focus group member). Space prevents a greater exposition of the politics of participatory democracy in Botswana, but we will see later that issues of how responsibility is interpreted by young people, compared with their parents, has implications for how the new generation should be encouraged to engage as active citizens. Learning: cumulative versus accommodative and transformative learning Botswana provides citizenship education through social studies curricula in the formal schooling system. The learning we discuss here is informal, incidental or social learning acquired through family, the community and society and through individual interpretations of that learning. Illeris (2003) explains that learning involves both an external (environmental) and internal (psychological) process. In these processes there is a cognitive, emotional and social dimension to acquisition and understanding of learning. He proposes that modern contexts for learning require a more elaborate explanatory framework that embraces learning that is transferable, including emotional learning that arises out of interaction with the environment; and also circumstances that create non learning. Illeris (2003, p. 403) perceives non learning partially as a response to the challenges of a rapidly changing world where new experiences do not give time for the old ones to be assimilated. He classifies this as ‘defence’ or ‘everyday consciousness’ where ‘we control our own learning and non learning’ (p. 403). Whilst a number of theories offer variations on different aspects of these ideas (for example Jarvis, 2001; Celis et al., 2001), Illeris’s (2003) multi-dimensional approach provides an explanation for the different ways in which learning occurs between the young people and their elders. The postIndependence generation, for instance, have been exposed to formal schooling where they acquired ‘assimilative’ and ‘accommodative’ patterns of learning (Illeris, 2003, p. 402). We suggest, however, that their elders’ learning has been largely cumulative, derived from cultural transmission of traditional beliefs and values passed from one generation to the next. As a result, when new experiences challenge existing schema, they become reconstructed as non learning through defence, in order not to destabilise what is familiar. The youth, however, are better able to indulge in transformative learning (where emotional, cognitive and social positions profoundly shift). There were three main aspects to the young adults’ informal learning. They were taught basic manners and how to behave or interact. In relation to this they absorbed proverbs, myths and taboos that were provided as social guidelines or sanctions and as a means of behavioural control. In general the values taught at home were not there to be questioned. But school taught these young people to question and think critically. This inevitably meant that they would begin to analyse the worth or value of traditional teachings to them as individuals. Many were taught the principles of botho—roughly translated as meaning to give respect first in order to receive it. Such values were reinforced through proverbs and taboos. For instance: keledi ya a mogolo gae rothe (the tears of the adult don’t drop on the ground). This means if you offend the adult you are likely to receive some form of punishment, maybe from your ancestors. Whilst most accepted the concepts of botho and ancestral spirituality, they rejected taboos as forms of social control directed at promoting obedience. This was especially significant for girls. The following is typical of both focus group and individual comments: I was told not to wash during the night because if a girl washes during the night she is likely to menstruate, it will affect her cycle. What I’ve learned is some of the taboos were just put across to measure the level of obedience by you. The culture of questioning that has been instilled through schooling, was now, for both males and females, resulting in a different attitude towards the traditional hierarchy for sources of wisdom with an affect on the degree to which gendered norms were being accepted. Again the following comment was typical: I have rejected that idea that you should always listen to elders when they speak, because they could be confusing. I can come up with my own conclusions. Education, then, is creating critical thinkers who are making informed judgements that work for themselves as well as their understanding of wider society. But critical thinking breeds diversity and independence, rather than unity of thought, as one female commented: I’ve learned that in life you’ve got to have an independent mind, be able to make decisions yourself. There is evidence, here, that these young people are listening, analysing and basing their decisions on considered judgements in the light of personal experience, and an assessment of what is valuable to themselves and wider society. Learning is continuous and constantly reviewed in the light of new evidence or understandings. Decisions are based on broader experiences than those acquired by earlier generations. Sometimes this results in a disjuncture (Jarvis, 2001) with old values, at other times these values are adapted for modern purposes. But those modern purposes sometimes also placed the post-Independence generation in a time warp where they were neither part of family tradition, nor had an identity in the fragile materialist infrastructure of recently globalised Botswana. Their ability to nurture their own civic republican social capital was one way of coping with these changes. Social capital: shifting from communitarian to civic republican. Villages in Botswana can sometimes represent vast extended family networks, where most people are related in some way to each other and, quite often, to the village headman or chief. Traditional family life revolved round agriculture and community functions such as weddings and funerals. Not surprisingly, therefore, communitarian social capital in the form of extended family networks proved to be the strongest source of learning and support for the youth, and also by them to other members of their community. Nevertheless there was evidence of a shift towards more civic republican forms of social capital amongst the young people. They were building up networks of mutual interest through their associations with the National Youth Council, their own drama groups and HIV/AIDS organisations. It was also here that they were learning values of reciprocity that stretched beyond family. One individual female interviewee elaborated: Amongst the Ghetto artists (a dance group) [I have learnt] like respect and love, working together, as in socialising with other people, knowing other people’s needs and problems and associating with each other wisely and friendly. Comments across the focus groups indicated that they used their own organisations as sources of community learning. For instance their organisations would spread messages about HIV/AIDS through drama or workshops as peer educators: I am already making a contribution because through drama we are educating people because we are able to disseminate information through drama (male focus group member). One or two mentioned how their entrepreneurial experiences were put to good use: Mostly there are those with business problems come to me; people know I am an entrepreneur so they also come to me with business related problems (male focus group member). For the older generation, though, education can be seen as an asset and a threat. It is a threat because it potentially drives a wedge between the tight knit family’s community learning and the unknown, more risky world inhabited by foreigners and their undesirable influences. However, one of the problems with social capital is that networks, social norms and values are often created in the interests of the dominant voices in a community. In some cases this meant that expectations of mutual obligations and information channels could be exclusionary. Both the young and older generations expressed their concern about the abuse of networks for personal gain and corruption. For example: People identify with kith and kin first … there is a lot of selfishness … people have now turned to use a bit of nepotism; friends help friends, relatives help relatives (civil society leader). So social capital is a complex phenomenon that can support and negate development. It is a resource and a potential inhibitor for active, democratic citizenship. Putnam (2000) cites the decline of traditional community life in the USA as a primary factor in the demise of social capital and good citizenship. Others have pointed out the need for a dynamic, and progressive, form of social capital that embraces change and diversity (Szreter, 2000). Botswana is in the process of transition from rural to urban life and associated changes that result from globalisation and infrastructure development. Moreover Botswana’s communitarian social capital is now heavily threatened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic which is killing large cohorts of the nuclear family age group of 25 to 45 years. So, existing social capital structures and networks urgently need to be supported by diversity. Change and urbanisation have therefore become a dramatic feature of social, economic and educational life. Botswana is strong on social capital, particularly in rural communities. But the transition to urbanisation and a money society has not been easy for Batswana, since monetary capital requires a civic republican, rather than communitarian form of social capital (Preece & Mosweunyane, 2004). As the Christian Council leader said in his interview: We are unable as Batswana to deal with the money economy because we come from a background of actual livestock farming … Because we haven’t been tutored from a young age to be able to engage the money economy. Such a statement has implications for the role that our new entrepreneurial generation have in contemporary society. It also has implications for their burden of responsibility in a society that suffers from 40% unemployment, and the impacts of HIV/AIDS. We shall see, however, that it is not simply patterns of investment and technology that alter urban life. It also has cultural and political dimensions as well (Clammer, 2003, p. 404). Change: urban versus rural Those in urban areas have access to information though the media compared with rural areas like doing drugs. … There seems to be a lot of individualism in urban areas, parents don’t take collective responsibility it is only biological parents who would care but in rural areas there is collective responsibility. Any elderly person would correct a child. There is much more respect in rural areas for elderly than in urban areas. … There is a ‘mind your own business’ in urban areas but this is not the case in rural areas. …Those in urban areas … They just want to satisfy themselves at whatever cost (female, individual interviewee). Salomon (2003, p. 1), in discussing the effects of suburbanisation in the USA, comments on how the ‘loss of place attachment and community identity is argued to have negative effects for youth, whose socialisation becomes privatised as parental civic engagement and general adult watchfulness decline’. Clammer (2003, p. 403), too in relation to South East Asia, confirms that ‘it is the cultures of urban spaces that are most immediately and directly influenced by globalisation’. In Botswana many changes have arrived in the form of pre-packaged entities, often before Batswana have had time to absorb and integrate the packages. This applies in particular to the introduction of technologies where insiders have not had the opportunity to stamp their own culture on how these resources should be used. Many focus group members indicated mixed feelings about the gains and losses of such exposure: Those in urban areas are enlightened because they have access to information, but in rural areas we are disadvantaged in terms of information … there are no facilities in rural areas, there is more sports variety in urban areas (rural youth group); Urban areas are influenced more by the media … there is a lot of competition in urban areas and because of the competition youth tend to compete against each other (urban youth group). In Botswana the transition from a rural, agrarian, barter economy to an urban, money economy has created new tensions and challenges. This becomes a scramble for scarce resources and competitive interactions with strangers. Such newly acquired habits impact on extended family relationships and stimulate a new kind of competition with each other. The younger generation seems to equate such changes with freedom and in the process they confuse old notions of citizen ‘duty’ with the idea that concepts of respect and sharing are the attitudes that breed subordination and oppression. Citizen responsibility Citizen responsibility is taking on new meanings across the globe (Gautier, 2003; Vromen, 2003; Van Benschoten, 2000 for instance). Individualism, rather than communitarianism is creating a different kind of youth from their ancestors. This in itself, however, does not mean that the younger generation are uncaring or irresponsible. Their sense of enlightened self interest, discussed earlier, mobilised them to take responsibilities in terms of counselling and disseminating information about AIDS, and other matters that concerned them such as resisting gender laden forms of social control. Consequently they were less likely to undertake traditional duties towards elders ‘for duty sake’. The focus group claims to being responsible were articulated as follows: I’m proud to have trained my age mates to have become peer educators. I have passed that skill onto other people (male from youth group); I am a member of the disciplinary committee on students against rape so we inform people about how they can deal with the problem of rape. Whenever someone has a problem we offer counselling services to that person (female from university student focus group). People in these interviews were already members of societies that acted responsibly. A few agreed that others were not so responsible, and that this was manifested as decreasing respect and an unwillingness to share. But many felt that their own critical analysis could be misinterpreted by elders as simply a rejection of what had been valued in the past. Often the focus group members felt they were unsupported in their endeavours: There is lack of support from parents and professionals … lack of recognition of the youth. Their ideas are sometimes not accepted without elaborate explanation. Solutions are rejected from youth simply because they are young (male member of entrepreneurial focus group); It is not true that we are not responsible but only in some cases elders don’t understand what we are doing or what we are saying and as a result they take it that we are irresponsible (male member of drama group). These comments create a number of challenges for the role of education, formal, non formal and informal. We offer some ideas that can be implemented outside the formal school system since the majority of this cohort were no longer in school. Our ideas follow Clammer’s (2003) argument that young people need to strengthen civil society. But we argue our case in the specific context of Botswana. Challenges for adult education in Botswana Our interpretation of what needs doing focusses on the following concerns. Firstly, HIV/AIDS is crumbling the nuclear and extended family infrastructure, which is the primary source of existing social capital. Secondly, the traditional social capital resources are increasingly too separate from modern day changes and challenges. Young adults of today are less interested in duty for duty’s sake and more concerned with modern risks that affect their livelihoods and concerns for social justice. In order to address these issues young people need to acquire the skills and capacity to influence, rather than simply react to change, especially change resulting from globalisation influences. To be effective, young people want to feel they have a voice in the development of their own society. One way of addressing these concerns is through the development of stronger civil society organisations. A strong civil society can both support and influence traditional institutions. It provides a forum for debate and questioning; it is also a resource for new forms of leadership and discursive democracy that can build on Botswana’s core values. The youth are in the early stages of building such networks but these are fragile and not sufficiently supported by training or skills development. There are many possible ways of approaching such learning and Botswana’s youth organisations already offer participatory, discursive learning opportunities (Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs 1996, 2000). So what can we add to what already exists in order to reach the kind of goals that the young people in our interviews were seeking? We make two suggestions in this respect. The first, a general theoretical one, encapsulated in the notion of transformative leadership is discussed in Preece & Mosweunyane (2004). The second is more practical and draws on participatory rural appraisal methods. It provides a strategy for inclusive education, learning and decision making. It is only outlined briefly here, but offers, we hope, a stimulus for further debate in the search for Botswana’s future. Civil societies that are developed by young people themselves are a resource to develop leadership skills and the broader social capital resources for a more deliberative democracy that can, if necessary, challenge the new forms of governance. But in Botswana’s context, people also need to engage with their villages and rural communities. They must therefore be sensitised to participatory development strategies that help local communities provide solutions to their own problems by engaging with indigenous knowledge systems and local cultural values. Since participatory rural appraisal is based on dialogue and discussion (Preece, 2003) it provides a potential foundation for a new citizenship responsibility—informed, active, democratic, discursive and participatory. Participatory rural appraisal depends on securing the trust and support of community members. It provides the practical tools for engaging with communities through indigenous knowledge, traditional resources and ensuring inclusive participation from all sectors of the community (Egerton University, 2000). The youth, by drawing on their own civil societies, may use these approaches as a resource to participate as equal players in the process of citizen responsibility. By giving themselves their own platform they may encourage reflective participation in local solutions to local problems. From here, it is argued, a new form of participation can emerge; one that embraces change because it is owned by the indigenous people rather than external forces, but which also provides a bridge between the past, present and future. References Arthur, L. (2002) Precarious relationships: perceptions of culture and citizenship among teachers of German, Compare, 32(1), 83–94. Avoseh, M. B. M. (2001) Learning to be an active citizen: lessons of traditional Africa for lifelong learning, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20(6), 479–486. Baron, S., Field, J. & Schuller, T. (2000) Social capital: a review and critique, in: S. Baron, J. Field & T. Schuller (Eds) Social capital: critical perspectives (Oxford, Oxford University Press). Brigaldino, G. (2002) Living with AIDS: the experience of Botswana. Available online at: www.opendemocracy.net/themes/article.jsp?id56&articleld5798 (accessed 29 November 2002). Celis, R., Snick, A., Stroobants, V. & Wildermeersch, D. (2001) Introduction, in: A. Snick, V. Stoobants & D. Wildermeersch (Eds) Learning citizenship and governance in Europe: overall review and analysis, Unpublished Research Report (Belgium, Unit of Social Pedagogy, Catholic University of Leuven). Chioncel, H. E., Van der Veen, R. G. W., Wildermeersch, D. & Jarvis, P. (2003) The validity and reliability of focus groups as a research method in adult education, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 22(5), 495–517. Clammer, J. (2003) Globalisation, class, consumption and civil society in South-east Asian cities, Urban Studies, 40(2), 403–419. Coleman, J. S. (1994) Foundations of social theory (Harvard, MA, Harvard University Press). Dean, B. L. & Mohammed, S. (2003) Pakistani notions of citizenship and their national and global implications. Conference paper, Lifelong Citizenship Learning, Participatory Democracy and Social Change, University of Toronto. Available online at: www.tlcentre.org. Delanty, G. (2000) Citizenship in a global age: society, culture, politics (Buckingham, Open University Press). Egerton University (2000) Egerton PRA field handbook for participatory rural appraisal practitioners (3rd edn) (Njoro, Kenya, Egerton University). Field, J. (2000) Researching lifelong learning through focus groups, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 24(3), 323–335. Field, J. (2001) Nationality, citizenship and lifelong learning: building social capital in the learning society, in: M. Bron Jnr & J. Field (Eds) Adult education and democratic citizenship III (Wroclaw, Lower Silesian University College of Education). Gautier, M. (2003) The inadequacy of concepts: the rise of youth interest in civic participation in Quebec, Journal of Youth Studies, 6(3), 265–276. Good, K. (1996) Authoritarian liberalism: a defining characteristic of Botswana, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 14(1), 29–51. Good, K. (2003) Bushmen and diamonds: (un)civil society in Botswana, Unpublished Seminar Paper, University of Botswana. Griffiths, A. O. (1997) In the shadow of marriage: gender and justice in an African community (Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press). Harris, E. (1996) Revisioning citizenship for the global village: implications for adult education, Convergence, XXIX(4), 5–11. Illeris, K. (2003) Towards a contemporary and comprehensive theory of learning, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 22(4), 396–406. Jarvis, P. (2001) Active citizenship and lifelong learning, in: O. Korsgaard, S. Walters & R. Andersen (Eds) Learning for democratic citizenship (Copenhagen, Association for World Education and the Danish University of Education). Jeffs, T. & Smith, M. (1999) The problem of ‘youth’ for youth work, Youth and Policy, 62, 45–66. Kitzinger, J. & Barbour, R. S. (1999) Introduction: the challenge and promise of focus groups, in: R. S. Barbour & J. Kitzinger (Eds) Developing focus group research: politics, theory and practice (London, Sage). Mazonde, I. (Ed.) (2002) Minorities in the millennium: perspectives for Botswana (Gaborone, Lentswe La Lesedi). Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA) (1996) National youth policy (Gaborone, MLHA). Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA) (2000) National Action Plan for Youth 2001–2101 (Department of Culture and Youth, Gaborone, MLHA). Mogae, F. G. (2001) Statement by His Excellency Mr Festus G. Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana at the Annual General Meeting of the Botswana Scouts Association, Gaborone: Botswana College of Agriculture. Ndegwa, S. N. (2001) A decade of democracy in Africa, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 36(1), 1–17. Nyamnjoh, F. B. (2003) Globalisation, boundaries and livelihoods: perspective on Africa, Philosphia Africana, 6(2), 1–18. Orvis, S. (2001) Civil society in Africa or African civil society? Journal of Asian and African Studies, 36(1), 17–39. Plug, W., Zeijl, E. & Du Bois-Reymond, M. (2003) Young people’s perceptions on youth and adulthood. A longitudinal study from the Netherlands, Journal of Youth Studies, 6(2), 127–144. Preece, J. (2003) Education for transformative leadership in the Southern African context, Journal of Transformative Education, 1(3), 245–263. Preece, J. & Mosweunyane, D. (2004) Perceptions of citizenship responsibility amongst Botswana youth (Gaborone, Lentswe La Lesedi). Preece, J. & Ntseane, P. G. (2003) HIV/AIDS awareness strategies for sustainable health in Botswana, in: B. Chilisa, L. Mafela & J. Preece (Eds) Educational research for sustainable development (Gaborone, Lentswe La Lesedi). Presidential Task Group (1997) Vision 2016. Towards prosperity for all: long term vision for Botswana (Gaborone, Government Printer). Putnam, R. D. (2000) Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community (New York, Simon Schuster). Rotberg, R. I. (1999) Social capital and political culture in Africa, America, Australasia and Europe, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 29(3), 339–357. Salomon, S. (2003) From hometown to nontown: rural community effects of suburbanization, Rural Sociology, 68(1), 1–25. Silvey, R. & Elmhirst, R. (2003) Engendering social capital: women workers and ruralurban networks in Indonesia’s crisis, World Development, 31(5), 865–879. Szreter (2000) Social capital, the economy and education in historical perspective, in: S. Baron, J. Field & T. Schuller (Eds) Social capital: critical perspectives (Oxford, Oxford University Press). UNDP (2002) Botswana poverty reduction strategy: poverty and poverty alleviation in Botswana (Gaborone, UNDP). Van Benschoten, E. (2000) Youth-led civic organizing: countering perceptions of apathy and redefining civic engagement, National Civic Review, 89(4), 301–305. Van der Veen, R. (2001) Naar een leefwereldbenadering van burgeschap, Sociale Interventie, 10(4), 5–12. Vromen, A. (2003) Traversing time and gender: Australian young people’s participation, Journal of Youth Studies, 6(3), 277–294.
Pages to are hidden for
"What-citizenship-responsibility-means"Please download to view full document