ISER INVITATION: New study on Sub-Saharan Africa’s wellbeing and prospects for happiness

Rhodes>ISER>Latest News

Turning the youth bulge into a youth dividend
Turning the youth bulge into a youth dividend


New study on Sub-Saharan Africa’s wellbeing and prospects for happiness
Turning the youth bulge into a youth dividend

Prominent quality of life researchers Valerie Møller, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Rhodes University and Benjamin Roberts, Chief Research Specialist in the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) division at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will discuss seminal research focused on youth wellbeing, drawn from their recent book:  ’Quality of life and human wellbeing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Prospects for Future Happiness Series: Human Well-Being Research and Policy Making.”

As South Africa draws close to its milestone of four decades of quality-of-life tracking and research, the study provides vital insights to guide practitioners and policy makers as it retraces the largely untold history of wellbeing in Africa, highlights the success stories and progress of our age, and looks to the future wellbeing of sub-Saharan Africa.  This book is informed by the authors’ contributions to a number of ambitious global projects on human well-being, as well as drawing from The Conversation Africa, which reports evidence-based news and analysis from expert researchers across Africa.

With a focus on the youth, we will discuss the clash of the generations, exploring the disconnect between Africa’s youth bulge and ageing leaders. We looks at how drought and commodity prices become risk factors for uprising and discontent, how the mobile phone revolution has impacted Africa, and how youth vote with their feet. We explore inter-regional and international migration in pursuit of opportunities, the creation of jobs for Africa, skills training, youth leadership and Covid-19 youth initiatives.  In looking to the future, we look at options to harness the continent’s youthfulness as an asset, turning Africa’s youth bulge into a youth dividend.

DATE: 25 May
TIME: 14h

Please note that this will be a hybrid seminar, conducted both in person in the ISER Seminar Room and online. 



VENUE: ISER Seminar Room, 6 Prince Alfred Street, Makhanda

Professor Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha
 - Director, Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University


Thomas Salmon – Doctoral Researcher, Education Faculty, Rhodes University


Benjamin J. Roberts is Chief Research Specialist in the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, and coordinator of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) since its inception in 2003. He received his Ph.D. in social policy and labour studies from Rhodes University, South Africa, based on a thesis on the topic on inequality beliefs and preferences for government-led redistribution. His research interests and areas of expertise include attitudinal measurement and social change, subjective well-being and quality of life, poverty and inequality, and social cohesion. 


Valerie Møller is Professor Emeritus of Quality of Life Studies at Rhodes University, South Africa. She studied sociology, earning her Licentiate and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Zürich, Switzerland. Valerie has held positions in social research institutes at the now University of Zimbabwe (1972–5), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (1996–1997), and as Director of Rhodes University’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (1998–2006). Valerie pioneered the first quality-of-life and social indicators studies that have tracked South African life satisfaction and happiness from apartheid to the country’s transition to democracy. She has edited a number of Springer volumes devoted to the South African and international experience of quality of life. She is a lifetime member of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) and served as its president from 2007 to 2008. In 2016, she received the society’s lifetime award for her contribution to a better understanding of quality-of-life issues.