In South Africa, there is an increasing realization of the need for engaging youth when developing programmes meant to positively nurture them. Current youth development practices fail to reflect youth aspirations because of dearth of appropriate approaches of engaging them. This exploratory study sought to fill this gap and obtain the perceptions of school-going and out of school youth in Makhado Local Municipality on various dimensions of their own development. 241 youth, comprising 89 out of school and 152 school-going youth from 47 villages in the municipality participated in a youth development-focused workshop. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interview guides were used to obtain youth perceptions. Both categories of youth perceived involvement in sporting activities, pride in own country, better education and employment as the most critical determinants of youth development. Inadequate access to reliable information, involvement of youth in crime, alcohol and drug abuse, and lack of support from communities, among others, also hampered youth development. This information is useful when crafting strategies for youth development.
Key words: Youth development, indicators, challenges, focus group, school-going, out of school.
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