Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high in South Africa. As the country gears up to commemorate Youth Day on Thursday, some young people in the Northern Cape have ventured into entrepreneurship in an attempt to create jobs and sustain themselves.
24-year-old Itumeleng Riet originally from Delportshoop, but now based in Kimberley, believes venturing into business is key to combatting the high unemployment rate among the youth. He is currently studying retail business management at Sol Plaatje University, says he entered into business in 2018 so that he doesn’t burden his parents with his needs. Riet established a company called CR Variety where he is creating bracelets and customising cellphone covers among his business ventures..
“I am trying to mitigate that challenge by not relying to get a job but creating a job for myself because I am from a family that was relying on pension. I am also studying. They didn’t send me like a monthly allowance so I made pocket money so that I can buy toiletries and all that since well we are facing high rate of unemployment so we have to create jobs for ourselves.”
35-year-old Olebogeng Segami from Galeshewe concurs with Riet, saying entrepreneurship is critical during these times where the cost of living is very high. Segami has created employment for five people at his pizza and fish and chips outlet in the township. He says Youth Day commemoration should be used by youth to grab opportunities that are available.
(“Youth Month signifies opportunities, possibilities, we are still young so opportunities are there for us. We need to grab them and run with them. But also we urge the government to support us as much as the government supports us.”
But not all young people are able to start businesses and be self sustainable. Those still battling to find opportunities have appealed to government to grow the economy and create work opportunities.
Some of them share their challenges.
“There is a lot of young people that are unemployment but are qualified. Their positions are taken by people who don’t have qualifications. The government doesn’t make funds available to provide jobs for the youth especially with old people sitting in those positions that they are suppose to occupy and all that and flourish. Youth unemployment is a big concern.
“Level of unemployment has gone too far. Youth Day doesn’t mean anything to some of us. Instead government makes functions where youth can celebrate Youth Day instead of making pamphlets or trying to let the youth be exposed to their jobs creations and ideas instead they make functions and they won’t benefit at the end of the day.”
Segami and Riet have encouraged youth to volunteer in the labour market to build on their skills.
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