“I am living again,” said an emotional Lihle Dlamini*, who landed a role as a software engineer at a bank after being unemployed for two years.
This afforded her newfound financial security and gave her confidence and a new passion for life.
Despite having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in development studies, she was among the almost eight million unemployed South Africans. After two years of staying home, the young woman said having a job has restored her dignity and confidence.
“The hardest part about unemployment is the guilt that comes with not being able to financially support my family back home.
“As one of the oldest girls, I shoulder a lot of responsibility in the family, so this job has eased that burden a lot,” she said.
Through the money she now earns, Dlamini was able to move out of her mother’s house, and is now planning and saving for the future.
Every day we are inundated with statistics and stories about the country's unemployment crisis.
The situation is dire and needs attention, especially for young people who have to contend with an obscene unemployment rate. But, we must not lose hope.
Another young person who has been hired after struggling for nearly a year is Sibusiso Mkhonto who has a diploma in accountancy from the University of Johannesburg.
He previously spoke to IOL Business about his issue of being between jobs.
“I would like to become a chartered financial analyst, but first, I need to add an advanced diploma in accounting to the equivalent of a BCom. Afterwards, I will write three board exams, get some experience, and get a CFA licence,” he said at the time.
Mkhonto has now landed a job in finance. He described this as a fulfilling experience as he is able to support himself and do what he loves.
After sharing the IOL article on LinkedIn, his profile reportedly got more hits. “It increased the number of recruiters and businesses viewing my profile. I would say it played a part in me getting the job.”
He was also accepted to UJ to do an advanced diploma in financial management in 2023 and is also considering becoming a chartered certified accountant with the UK accounting regulator.
For Monni Hlulu who had been without a job for seven months, getting an opportunity as a receptionist intern has changed her outlook on life. With a Bachelor of Applied Social Science in community service, she had to look for other avenues whilst awaiting a chance to work in her dream career.
“I volunteered for two months at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre, and luckily, the Yes 4 Youth programme started in October, and I was chosen by the company to participate in it,” she said.
For Limpopo's Lizzie Malekana despite having a postgraduate diploma in finance and a Bachelor of Accounting degree from UJ, she could not get a job.
In a fortunate turn of events, she now works as a trainee accountant and will serve articles for three years, during which she will be assisted with board exams to ensure that she qualifies as a chartered accountant.
South African youth have shown extreme resilience and bravery, generation after generation. Through tremendous difficulties, they have emerged victorious.
However, it is important to note that these struggles did not have to exist for South Africans to realise their greatness as a people.
*Lihle Dlamini is not her real name. Changed for privacy.