This blog post was written by guest writer Chulumanca Ngesi, a member of our Trusted Interns extended family who now works at Red & Yellow.
As a youth in South Africa, it isn’t easy to find employment.
Avela from the Eastern Cape had dreams of being a Marketing Strategist since she was in Grade 10. Her dreams of working in Marketing led her to attend university in Johannesburg. All her hard work came to fruition on her Graduation Day. She was finally graduating in an auditorium full of her peers and academics, her friends and family beaming with pride in the audience.
She was the first and only graduate in her family. This was supposed to be the beginning of amazing things for Avela, her graduation was the key to countless opportunities. With her qualification, she could take on the world, be great and eventually create opportunities for those who come after her.
She would soon discover it wasn’t as simple as that.
Youth unemployment in South Africa
58.2% of the South African youth is unemployed. That means more than half of the youth of South Africa is unemployed. Let that sink in.
Like those millions of South African graduates, Avela had difficulty finding a job. Months of applying went by, getting no results. Sending job applications felt futile. She was left feeling useless after every rejection email.
She felt like she had disappointed her family who struggled to get her through school and supported her during her tertiary years. Life was supposed to get better after graduation but instead, she felt like a burden on her own family. All Avela wanted was to be given a chance to work, to prove herself and give her all to her job. Her employment would benefit not only her but her family, friends and community – even her country.
She wanted to use her education and the opportunities she got to make everyone’s life a little better. To help take care of her family, pay for younger brother’s tertiary education and help her family and future generations make better financial decisions that will benefit them.
One year on from her graduation, Avela applied for an internship in Marketing. The job was based in Cape Town but she understood what this opportunity would mean for her future; her family. This was the chance that she had been patiently waiting for. She travelled from her home in the Eastern Cape to Cape Town, and back for each stage of the interview process, each time feeling closer to her dream.
Avela was given a chance. The moment her new boss shook her hand, congratulating her on getting the job, it felt like her graduation day all over again.
Someone took a chance on her and now she works for an organisation that allows her to help others like her find employment.
Avela’s struggle is not uncommon in South Africa. Most of our youth are unemployed for significant amounts of time
It’s not just a job
To a young unemployed graduate, employment is more than just getting the job. It’s getting a life-changing opportunity. It’s an employer believing in you.
Imagine this: sitting at home for months, feeling like your life is slipping away while your peers are moving forward. It seems like everyone else around you has a purpose except you. You check your emails every hour of every day, hoping for some good news, for an employer to recognize your potential and give you a chance.
As a youth, when you are given a job, your entire future changes.
Countless educated young people are hoping to be given a chance to work, to prove themselves, make an impact and contribute to society. A chance to help others by creating employment opportunities in the future.
The youth is the future
Khaya Dlanga and Busisiwe Mavuso were once like us; young talent that was hungry for an opportunity.
Hungry for a chance to show their skills and make their mark in their fields. It all started with one opportunity, one chance or one internship. That was all that was needed to be the catalyst for their journeys and successes.
Every success story starts with an opportunity, someone believing and taking a chance on you. Seeing your potential and wanting to nurture it. Busisiwe Mavuso sat down with us to share her success story. Click here to watch the full video.
The youth is the future. They have ideas and innovative minds that may hold the solutions that this country needs. It’s up to corporates, startups and government to make a difference and provide young South Africans with jobs and ultimately a chance to improve their lives.
Employers of South Africa: believe in them and #GiveTheYouthAChance.