This paper explores what it means to be young, displaced and looking for a job in a war-affected town of the DRC. It considers the livelihoods of young displaced migrants in Butembo, and integrates more critical views on the life making perspectives of these African youngsters, who are affected as much by problems of daily survival as by a lack of access to decent jobs. The barriers these youngsters face in their quest for a decent living not only illustrates the explicitly political nature of Butembo’s job market in the aftermath of war, but also supports the claim that stories of daily survival and political categorization/marginalization remain inherently connected.

The fact that this connection is often explicitly made in these youngsters’ imaginations about a better life forces us to rethink the relationship between armed violence, livelihoods and economic markets in the aftermath of protracted conflicts.