This article presents the findings of a series of studies that examine the perceptions of black South African youth about township life and the civil conflict and violence it encompasses. The studies were conducted with comparable samples of 58–82 youth at 3 points in South Africa's history, all characterized by high levels of violence but differing in terms of their political contexts. These contexts were overt State-community conflict, covert opposition and political repression, and intracommunity violence. The data revealed that in all 3 contexts youth reported a high exposure to violence, but only when violence occurred in the context of intracommunity conflict was it subjectively construed to be the most problematic. Reasons for this may include the real increase in more extreme forms of violence, including deaths, that occurs in intracommunity violence and the blurring of the distinction between political and criminal violence in this context.