Entrepreneurship was still a scary and often foreign concept especially for the youth in SA -Miss SA

By Given Majola Time of article published Oct 30, 2021

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Entrepreneurship was still a scary and often foreign concept especially for the youth in South Africa, says recently crowned Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane.

The 24 year old who hails from KwaSokhulu near Richards Bay in the north of the KwaZulu-Natal province said that entrepreneurship was something that seemed so unattainable because today’s youth was not empowered with the entrepreneurial know-how to establish business enterprises. It is for this reason that this youngest of three siblings was raised by a woman who was widowed over a decade ago said that her campaign as reigning beauty queen was aimed at providing entrepreneurial skills and guidance to children at school level to tackle this entrepreneur phobia.

Mswane said that she herself had experienced unemployment first hand as she applied for articles to no avail after obtaining her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Pretoria. “Unemployment is a very personal topic to me. Our unemployment rate is at an all-time high with the youth being the ones that are greatly affected. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic perpetuated these issues hence I decided to make it my cornerstone cause,” said Mswane in response to the Business Report enquiry.

As South Africa marked the 45th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto this year, Statistics South Africa published an article titled: Youth still find it difficult to secure jobs in South Africa. It said that as the country marked this milestone with the focus on the youth under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society”, the vital question was “What strides have we made in ensuring our youth have better opportunities for employment in South Africa?”

The local statistics agency said South Africa’s unemployment rate hit a new record high of 34.4 percent in the second quarter of this year from 32.6 percent in the first quarter. It put the number of the unemployed at close to 8 million people in the three months to the end of June, compared with over 7.2 million people in the previous three months.

The rate was the highest since the quarterly labour force survey began in 2008.

According to an expanded definition of unemployment that included those discouraged from seeking work, 44.4 percent of the labour force was without work in the second quarter, from 43.2 percent in the first quarter.

The data showed that the youth were the hardest hit as only 36 percent of young people aged 18-24 were employed. About 43 percent of those aged 25-35 were unemployed.

Mswane said that since the current economy required people to be self-sufficient, the government could deal with unemployment by re-designing the structures of education and introducing alternative skills in the schooling curriculum to help curb unemployment in the coming years.

She said that businesses could also engage with the communities surrounding them by employing more young people in positions that offered them more skills. “These are positions like apprenticeships and internships. This could get the youth interested in entrepreneurship because they would have gained market experience,” she said.

Miss SA Lalela Mswane who will represent this country in the annual international beauty pageant Miss Universe to be hosted in Israel in December this year, said that communities could also engage in creating more initiatives that were aimed at improving the conditions in or of that particular society such as starting community farming projects like community gardens. She said they could grow items that can be sold to local bigger markets or even supply corporations based in those communities.

BUSINESS REPORT

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