Meekers, Dominique and Naomi Wekwete. 1997. The Socioeconomic and Demographic Situation of Adolescents and Young Adults in Zimbabwe. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 23. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Macro International
Social and behavioral scientists have been slow to recognize the special needs of adolescents. However, by merely looking at the numbers in this age group the problems that have developed among young adults in sub-Saharan Africa, it is imperative that the needs of adolescents be addressed. Adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa constitute 23 percent of the total population; in Zimbabwe 20 of the percent of the population are adolescents. Moreover, since Zimbabwe has a youthful population (45 percent of the population is below 15 years of age) the number of adolescents will increase further in the future.
Adolescence in the process through which an individual makes the transition from childhood to adulthood (Senderowitz and Paxman, 1985). The beginning of this process is related to the onset of puberty and a period when many life-long behaviors are adopted. Traditionally, systems existed in Zimbabwe that prepared adolescents for adult life. Young adults received guidance mainly from their aunts in the case of girls and uncles in the case of boys. But this traditional system has been eroded by socioeconomic development and other "modernizing" influencing. Aunts and uncles are now often physically and socially removed from adolescents and are no longer able to guide them. "Modernization and rapid urbanization have left young people spatially and psychologically cut off from their elders, who were traditionally responsible for conveying information" (Kulin, 1988).