‘SA Youth are least resilient’

It seems at every turn, we’re hearing about ‘resilience’ and how important it is for countries

and companies, communities and individuals. Everything and everybody seems to be

striving ‘to be more resilient’. But what does that mean? It turns out that there are

significant myths surrounding resilience. Contrary to popular opinion, resilience is not just

about ‘bouncing back’ from hard knocks. Authentic Resilience expert Gabi Lowe, co-founder

of the Resilience Factory, says “There’s nothing bouncy about resilience. It’s not simply

about presenting yourself as tough and strong; or being able to go it alone. Resilience is also

not an innate capacity; our work has proved that it can be developed.”

Authentic Resilience is actually about having the courage to be vulnerable and doing the

inner work and processing that helps you grow through times when you are experiencing

trauma, adversity and sustained stress. This is a lot different from ‘putting your head down

and ploughing through’, which can help you survive in short bursts, but cannot be sustained

in the long-term. By contrast, people with highly developed Authentic Resilience find it easy

to talk about their feelings and their vulnerabilities. They focus on their self-care during

tough times, and actively seeking out help and support when they need it.

The recently released 2021 BrandMapp Authentic Resilience Report is a collaboration

between The Resilience Factory and South Africa’s largest, most comprehensive survey of

the South African middle class. BrandMapp has uniquely captured the COVID-era opinions

of South Africans living in households with a R10 000+ monthly income. Ten resilience

survey statements, five positive and five negative, were presented to more than 33 000

middle class South Africans, giving companies, brand and media owners an exceptional

insight into the resilience of the 30% segment of the population that represents 100% of the

country’s taxpaying base and 80% of all consumer spend.

South Africa’s youth are the least resilient

Brandon de Kock, BrandMapp Director of storytelling says, “If you look at this sample

showing five of the ten resilience statements that we tested across age groups, it tells a story

of our younger generations being significantly less able to cope. A whopping 45% of Gen Z

respondents said they don’t like to talk about their feelings, an important signifier of

Authentic Resilience. 32% of Gen Z say they find it hard to recover from bad things that

have happened to them, compared to only 7% of the Silent Generation and 11% of

Boomers.  When it comes to staying calm in a crisis, 54% of Silent Generation keeps

themselves together but less than a third, 32%, of Gen Z can do the same. For employers,

universities, families and society at large, this should be a red flag. We live in tumultuous

times, and by all accounts that is only going to get worse. Just think about what lies up

ahead in terms of the climate crisis. Gen Z will soon be the dominant generation in our

workplaces; what will happen if two-thirds of them fall apart when they face adversity? The

big question is what do we do about this? Since resilience can be developed, and we are

facing future-shock, which has been prefaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we help

Gen Z, and the upcoming Gen Alpha, develop Authentic Resilience?”

Why is resilience important to brands and businesses?

De Kock points out, “Whether they are your employees or your customers, people with

higher resilience are going to be more successful and more wide-ranging in life. It stands to

reason that they are going to do more, buy more and spend more.”

Lowe concludes, “Many don’t realise that Authentic Resilience is a critical life skill. It is the

powerful ability to survive, thrive and grow in the face of stress, change, adversity and

trauma. Everyone has the capacity to develop greater levels of Authentic Resilience.

Understanding what it is, who has it and where it needs to be developed has impacts across

all sectors of South Africa from industry and corporates to educational institutions and


To download the full BrandMapp Authentic Resilience report, click here.