Dealing with Unemployment in South Africa: Research and Intervention



The Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa and the KU Leuven, Belgium invite you to the following symposium (which is financially supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Board):


Dealing with Unemployment in South Africa: Research and Intervention


Date: 13-14 September 2018




Unemployment is one of the most significant challenges facing South Africa. It hinders the achievement of South Africa’s two key strategic objectives: eliminating poverty and reducing inequality. Unemployment has detrimental consequences. At the macro-level, the inactivity of many workers reduces the potential for economic growth. At the meso-level, low-income households are heavily burdened, as the unemployed have to support many dependants. At the micro level, unemployed individuals suffer from being unemployed.


The Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University and KU Leuven in Belgium have over the last five years investigated the experiences of unemployed people in townships in South Africa. The Flemish Interuniversity Board sponsored the research project. The overall aim of this project was to advance the knowledge on the experience of unemployment in South Africa. From a developmental perspective, we aimed to develop and evaluate an evidence-based intervention which can alleviate unemployed individuals’ burden and foster their adaptive orientation towards the labour market and/via enhance(d) well-being. To sustainably support evidence-based interventions, the second development goal of this project was to enhance research capacity and stimulate scholars to do research in general and on unemployment in particular.


Aims of the Symposium


The symposium aims to:


Invitation to Submit Abstracts


We invite researchers (including student researchers), practitioners and policy makers to submit abstracts for paper and poster presentations on research findings and best practices. 


Paper presentations will be 20 minutes with a 10 minute discussion time afterwards. Please submit a summary or abstract of no more than 300 words on your presentation on the following website ( You will be notified of the acceptance by 31 July 2018.




You can register on the website:


Important Dates


Last date for submission of abstracts: 30 June 2018


Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 31 July 2018


Last date for registration: 30 August 2018


Payment: on/before 30 August 2018


Symposium Venue


The symposium will take place at the Emerald Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.


Accommodation will be available at the Conference Centre as well as guest houses in the area. A list of possible accommodation appears on the Optentia website (




Registration: R500.00 (VAT included)


A limited number of sponsorships for attendance is available for students and community leaders. Please contact Marinda Malan ( for more information.


The fees for the symposium and workshops include attendance of all sessions, handouts, materials and refreshments.


Key Information


Unemployment Symposium 2018

Optentia Research Focus Area

North-West University

PO Box 1174






Tel: +27 (016) 910 3515 (Marinda Malan)