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The Struggle Of An Unemployed African Youth

It’s every African child’s dream to take care of their parents after University or any adult age. That way when they pass on and become ancestors, you know they got your back. It’s Our Culture; we don’t send them to Old age homes.
The goal is independence, move out of your parents’ house so you can only visit them on weekends and buy groceries for them before you leave on a Sunday evening.

But then enter Unemployment. The biggest source of depression amongst African youths. In most cases, it introduces lifestyle dilemmas in the struggle to make ends meet. Things like alcohol abuse, engaging in criminal activities and for women, prioritizing on financial security on decisions about dating.

As a young person you also want to move with the times, you also want to buy the latest iPhone or Samsung phone so that when the issue of which phone has got a better camera you can also participate and brag.

But perhaps most alarming right now is the situation where women stay in unhealthy relationship mostly because of financial security.
Perhaps it is debatable, but there are indications that this issue plays a significant role in the societal disease of the violence against women in our society currently. The case of Karabo is one such instant. The latest one regarding Grace Mugabe also leans in that direction. Disclaimer: I have not researched how the 20-year-old Gabriella Engels is associated with Grace’s sons, it’s just a hunch.

Speaking of Grace Mugabe, it is also evident that Politicians promise millions of jobs during their political campaigns and deliver nothing after getting into office. But even more amazing is how we the general public keep falling for this trick every time. After elections, it’s only the relatives of these Politicians that are guaranteed to have Job security, while the rest of us continue to live in Motel uncertainty.

Anyhow, as I always say, “it is an extreme sport, for an unemployed guy to date.” Romantic gestures are extra hard. Date nights are the worst, but you really can’t keep a relationship alive without them. It’s Culture. You hang out with your partner, buy nice food and just have a lovely time. When your partner’s birthday or your anniversary is coming up, you are always thinking of ways to show how much you appreciate them by spending a little something it might not be much but you have to spend.

When friends invite you to hang out for a few drinks, you want to buy drinks of your choice and contribute something to buy braai meat. It sucks to be the guy who gets sent to buy ice because that is the only contribution you can afford. And if you are in that position, you can’t take Bae to braai with the boys. You can ask the creator of South Africa’s unofficial national anthem, Mgarimbe.

When you are unemployed, you are limited to activities you can participate in, and you are forced to turn down social invitations, and even friends become few in the end.

The biggest challenge when you are unemployed is the pressure from family and society, and you don’t want to bother anyone asking for financial assistance when you reach a certain age. You wake-up in the morning go online and send CVs everywhere and still go for days, weeks and even months without any news or calls. You start giving up on your dreams even those words from friends and family “don’t worry your job is waiting for you just one day just wait and see”  becomes a chorus that stops making sense at some point.

Sometimes people will gossip about you that you have been unemployed for so long because you are just lazy and you don’t want to work. Unemployment is so deep and it is sad that in 2017 people still make unemployment jokes. The world around us is now more about connections than education, and job opportunities fall to those who are well connected.
Unemployed graduates are increasing each year. Companies are reluctant to take in interns. Governments should pressurize or at-least incentivize the private sector to ensure faster consumption of new graduates on to the labor force. But the officials would rather take the bribes going directly to their bank accounts.

I wrote this article to say, if you can relate to it, you are not alone. Don’t think you are an Outcast because some of your friends or old school mates are already driving their first cars while you are not yet employed. It happens to the best of us.
Statistics indicate massive jobless rates in Africa, and youth unemployment is a scourge throughout the entire continent. Your day will come.

The fact is, If you are too anxious about the situation, you may not have the free-mindedness to impress your potential employers during interviews. You need to take a balanced approach to the situation. Here are a few things I would like to suggest you do

  1. Don’t give up or stop sending those job applications
  2. Make new friends it is good for networking and learning about potential opportunities (But Please be choosy with friends).
  3. Don’t blame yourself (It is not your fault, corrupt politicians are the cause).
  4. Stay Positive.
  5. Be hopeful.
  6. Don’t be shy to tell people you are job hunting.Don’t be ashamed, talk about it. (many people have landed Jobs standing at road intersections with a board)
  7. Find something you are good at and kill most of your time doing it.
  8. Don’t over think (I know there is no on and off button).

To all job hunters may that important call or email come soon.

If you have any information or suggestions that can help another African child on this matter, it doesn’t matter what country you are in, feel free to post on this article, I will ensure the information goes far and wild.

4 Responses

  1. Andile

    It’s a good piece with a young realistic view. I agree and think we need to encourage ourselves as youth to be more inventive, focus more on new ways to attack the poverty scourge. Government cannot and should not be considered the only solutions to our problems. If we will go that wayvthen we should actively take part into politics, Government youth programs to ensure accountability. The way things are is seemingly against young black Africans. Unity in action is the way to go. Be proud of our being, support each other and defeat inequality by uniting in our struggle. Private sector is ensuring security for the minority future generations every day. We need to do the same. UNITE AND LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. SHINE TOGETHER AND FORCE THE GOVERNMENTS TO PRIORITIZE US AS THE FUTURE OF THIS CONTINENT AND BE RESPOSIBLE AND PROUD AFRICANS.

    Thank you for a good piece G

    1. You raised important valid points I agree with you that young people should be more involved in politics than just watch this ageing generation of corrupt leaders just squander taxpayers money.Thank you very much for your input.

  2. Wanjiru

    Good read.

    I also have an issue with us young people expecting the government to give us jobs. The government cannot do that for all of us. Also, private sector cannot be pressurized. Remember they’re out to make a profit and cannot overburden themselves with a huge labour force, it’s expensive. I was unemployed for 3 years so I get you…and I don’t have a fulltime/permanent job yet. But the onus is on young people to be proactive. What can we do to achieve our dreams? It’s not impossible.

    1. Thanks for your input Wanjiru I believe we have different abilities while some are entrepreneurs others don’t have the same abilities in short 9-5 isn’t for everyone and entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone ..but I do agree with you and thank you.

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