The aim of the study was to discover youth experiences in relation to the impact of unemployment to their transition to adulthood by employing a positive youth developmental framework as suggested by Jenson, Alter, Nicotera, Anthony and Forrest-Bank (2012). Data was collected from a sample of youth between the ages of 18 and 29 years by means of in-depth interviews and focus group interviews. Theoretical thematic analysis was applied to interpret the findings. The participants’ narratives revealed the impact of unemployment and their challenges to meet their personal needs. The findings revealed that the impact of unemployment contributes to young people adopting delinquent behaviour of which facilitates their failure to enjoy appropriate transition to adulthood. The findings also propose that participants believed that unemployed youth normally experience difficulties in their daily lives of which lead some of them to be idle or participate in the informal trade such as informal trade to procure their livelihoods. Furthermore, youth perceive unemployment as the root cause to their vulnerability and discouragement in life. Although this article attempts to reveal the experiences of township youth in the post-apartheid era, but the limited sample size would not able to facilitate its generalisation. Given the scarcity of similar literature focusing on South Africa, the present study provides a baseline analysis of the scope of the challenges that the youth encounter.
Keywords: youth, unemployment, vulnerability, challenges, alternative strategies, transition