Youth sub-cultural and identity formation in Port Elizabeth Townships, South Africa

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Author(s):  Luvuyo Ntombana, Bayanda Laqwela and Francis Sibanda

To cite this article: Ntombana, L., Laqwala, B., & Sibanda, F. (2022) “Youth sub-cultural and identity formation in Port Elizabeth Townships, South Africa”. Youth Voice Journal, ISSN (online): 2056-2969


This study explores and describes a new sub-cultural formation among Port Elizabeth youth called izikhothane and the ritual practices associated it. It seeks to understand meanings attached to belonging to these youth groups and their lived experiences. To achieve these objectives, the study uses the qualitative approach, which allows for an in-depth inquiry into emerging youth dynamics. Semi-structured interview guides, focus group discussions and observations were employed as data collection tools. The study found out that these youth formations are not just about young people having fun but organised structures that at times breed violence in communities. This study further revealed how broken family structures were responsible for this phenomenon. Absentee fathers were particularly found to be a great factor to the participants’ choice of joining izikhothane.

The study recommended that the causes of these new formations be shared with the affected communities. In turn, the communities should come up with solutions and interventions for guiding the youth in making right decisions and in becoming responsible adults.

Keywords: Izikhothane, youth subculture, formations, identity, Port Elizabeth, township

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