By: Aphelele Mtwecu
I recently read a post by the Funny Chef where she asked what we can do about the issue of unemployment in the country. And as you can imagine, a vast amount of suggestions came through from picking up side hustles to opening businesses and so on. I think that there are two fundamental facts that we need to acknowledge, as South Africans. The first is that South Africa’s economy has been on a drop dead zone in creating employment opportunities for the longest time. Second- and more importantly- no one is coming, so we need to change our mind-set on how we tackle these challenges.
The economy’s gruesome affairs are well known- the stats have sounded like nothing more than a broken record on how dire job scarcity is. How maladministration rules the order of the day when it comes to employment. We read about it, we see it, and some of us have experienced the wrath of nepotism and the likes.
The sad part is that no one is coming to rescue us, or take us out of these atrocities of unemployment and poverty. I know this because I have found myself in strange and discomforting places in the quest of placing food on the table. I have sold sweets at schools, popcorn, clothes, perfumes, wine, chicken feet, and I found all of it mortifying.
Do you know why?
Because I have been conditioned that people like me- affluent graduates- do not belong on street hustle, we belong in the boardroom. Socially conditioned behaviour is nothing personal, really, it’s not your fault that you think your acquired piece of paper- from an institution of higher learning- makes you think that you are the epitome of existence. We were taught this way. It’s not of your own doing that you think the key to success or even survival will automatically spurt after attaining your qualification.
However, what we are at fault for is, when given and faced with the evidence of this fallacy, we remain in denial. We have unyieldingly refused to change and see the situation for what it is. We are at odds with ourselves for promises not fulfilled, and terrified to reach out for new possibilities.
Now- being solution oriented people, I know you must be asking yourself “What now?” “How do we move forward?”
The first critical aspect is to evaluate our psyche. We must question where these previous convictions come from. This will assist us in removing the roots. You see, if we are able to pluck out the toxic indoctrination we have inhaled over the years, we are better positioned to find long term and sustainable solutions. So, I reckon that before we advise each other on how to respond to the scourge of unemployment, we should first ask ‘’How in god’s good green earth did we get here?’’
From here, we move on to building foundations that will inform the premise of our solutions towards economic freedom, for example, self-accountability, resilience, skills development- whatever value system works for us as a collective. This will form the basis on which to build our solutions.
So before you, as an individual, decide on opening your side business, you need to know why and how you want to sustain it. If we omit to develop this aspect soon, our endeavors of escaping poverty come crumbling down instantaneously.
Now, we can preach and analyze all we want. We can make recommendations on these social media streets. At the end of the day, you are the one who is hungry, it is you whose dignity feels altered. You are the one dipping in and out of depression and anxiety. Finally, and without enforcing any ultra-pessimism, you are on your own and no one is coming, so get up and be the one you have been waiting for!
Image sourced online