‘Ageing on the youngest continent: trends and themes of population ageing in (South) Africa’

Fertility rates are falling globally. At the same time science and technology ensure we are living longer and healthier lives. This generally is how the story plays out in the more developed parts of the world (up to now at least): they became wealthier and healthier and they grew older … However, ageing in the still developing parts of the world ─ where already 60% of the 60 years and older population live ─ largely occurs against a backdrop of considerable economic, infrastructural and personal strain. The developing world will grow old (at a rapid pace and in huge numbers) but will still be poor … Longevity, even if achieved, often then entails a life of compromised health with scant access to general care and similarly constrained financial resources. This will have a fundamental impact on the social norms and practices that we usually take for granted. In this talk, Jaco Hoffman will look at ageing trends in (South) Africa ─ as still the youngest region of the world ─ and how, in a developing context, we could harness a demographic dividend. It will be suggested that we follow intergenerational and life-course approaches.