A theological analysis of the impact of unemployment on the youth in Pietermaritzburg, with particular focus on Young Christian Workers (YCW)
Unemployment is a massive and rapidly growing problem in the world as a whole and in South Africa in particular. Its consequences have assumed proportions comparable to those of disasters caused by tornados and hurricanes. Social commentators believe it should be treated the same way as HIV/AIDS in the South African context. Yet policy makers and decision makers have not given enough attention to the problem of unemployment in relation to its devastation effects. Economics and its theories seem unable to provide coherent understanding as to the mechanism leading to unemployment on such a massive scale. The response of the Church to this problem have been indifference; either due to ignorance or to a spiritualised faith and emphasis has been on personal virtues and vices such as industriousness and initiative over and against laziness and lethargy. This thesis aims to give an indication of the extent and urgency of the problem of unemployment, investigate the impact of the phenomenon on the youth in Pietermaritzburg, and the role befitting the Church in helping people deal with the problem. This study attempts to present to the public the contribution of theology, especially Industrial Mission, to the understanding of unemployment. Most research in the field of unemployment has been done by economists and the availability to an audience outside the community of economists is extremely limited. Economists generate their ideas and research results in technical journals where emphasis is on the methodology used and established scientific terminology. This vast technical literature fails to reach the wider public debate about work. This study tries to avoid both jargon and oversimplification in the belief that the research effort must become widely known amongst the employed and unemployed alike.