By Xolani Ngxatu
On 27 March 2023, while doing interviews on unemployment in the streets of Makhanda, we
spoke to two people. One is a car guard who takes care of his siblings, and the other is an
unemployed graduate. Both their stories were touching.
In the interview with Siyabulela the car guard, it became evident that he is the one putting bread on the table for his family. He also takes care of his little sister who is in Grade 11. Siyabulela encounters challenges working on the streets because some drivers, despite arrangements, sometimes do not give him any money, leaving him empty-handed when he goes back home.
Phelisa is an unemployed graduate who spoke to us. She said she is struggling to get a job but does have qualifications in financial management. Phelisa is frustrated, and she ended up being open to going to older men.
That is how unemployment affects people in Makhanda, to be specific, young Black people. Phelisa even said she does not have any hope even for the next ten years to come. She said what she noticed is that those who do not have qualifications are the ones that are in positions of work, but qualified people are on the streets.
She added that she does not have any interest in voting – she cannot see the reason why she should vote, because of high levels of unemployment, crime is also on the rise in form of cable theft that is giving us more loadshedding, drug abuse, house break-ins, teenage pregnancy, and a general lack of self-esteem.
This country of ours needs to take care of its young people before it is too late. People out there are having unprotected marches because of poor services. The government must start creating jobs for young people before the country falls down to its knees. Creating cooperatives is the other solution to the current problem we have in South Africa. The rights for the future of this country are for young people.
(Xolani Ngxatu is a leader in the Independent Komani Residents Association and wrote this story during a Khanya College media training workshop in Makhanda. This opinion piece was first published on 10 May 2023 in Karibu! A Working Class Newspaper, published by Khanya College).