We focus on the impact of societal change and related societal problems on the youth of post-apartheid South Africa. Within the parameters of an eco-systemic model, it is argued that adolescents’ perspectives on their future in this country could be negatively influenced by the extent of societal problems that are currently experienced in South Africa. Amidst severe problems such as poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and violent crime the findings of an empirical investigation into the views 1,326 adolescents from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds indicate that a general spirit of optimism and independence exists,
paired with a strong desire to escape the trappings of poverty and to fulfil their
career and social expectations. The findings indicate that a new, non-racial generation is emerging, but also highlight a formidable ethical dilemma: not societal factors, but ironically the ailing education system, is blocking the future ideals of thousands of South African adolescents.