Graduate Lonalinamandla Bawuti at her sister’s fruit stall in Mthatha.

02 February 2020


“Jobs are a thing of the past” – I noticed this when I went to buy diapers late last year in the early morning. There were different types of customers in the shop: those that were similarly rushing to an office job; strollers who were trying to pass time clearly not rushing to go anywhere and you had those you could see are somewhat employed but work flexible hours. Similarly, I encountered the same at the gym. I’ve been at the gym during different hours of the day i.e. early morning, lunch-time and in the afternoon and what I’ve gathered is that we are moving to a time where people are gaining more control over their time. The current unemployment statistics have caused and are causing thousands to think out of the box.

Two weeks ago, I heard a man say “Job’s are a thing of the past. If you want to be successful, you have to come up with a skill that is outside the current education system.” This was so profound especially after realising how true this is. Thousands of people both educated and not, are on the hunt for a job and for those who’ve already secured work, they stand the harsh reality of retrenchment! So the next thing to do is to come up with an innovative sustainable idea that will keep you going. If you want to take it up a notch, come up with an idea that will create other jobs and industries in the process and, turn the scourge of unemployment right-side up. 

I wouldn’t particularly think that some entrepreneurs chose business because they were born to do it but for people like me, in the media industry, business is the only way to survive. The scarcity of work causes one to think on their feet. Not because the work is scarce per se but it is the distribution thereof which solemnly gives work to “preferred” individuals – in the end robbing true talent the opportunity to shine. Hence many talented hopefuls remain just that, hopeful, in their little corners trying to shine bright where they are. The challenges are so great, especially that of capital to get your business off the ground. This can particularly become challenging when you have a family to provide for. You try to make ends meet; swallowing all your pride to pay the bills but still, that isn’t enough to sustain you. You, therefore, choose to follow a business idea that poses great potential but capital hinders it from growing and somehow you’re back to square one. So what do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom – the lowest of lows, where doing your hair has become an event? Where buying a new casual outfit has become a dream?

There are many circumstances surrounding those without stable jobs however most reasons are socio-economic. However, there’s always a place to start. You have to be vigilant and identify a gap in your community, look at what is around you that you can make better. What do you have that others need? I’ve noticed with most upcoming businesses, people are selling you time that you don’t have. Look at a fast food outlet, people can cook but they don’t have the time so they’d rather buy. It’s all about strategically saving your customer time and packaging it up in a fancy way so that they don’t realise that you’re selling them something that they could possibly do themselves. 

Therefore we need to start being smart about this whole “unemployment” pandemonium and take it by the horns. We’ve got a whole lot more to give than we actually think. The problem I’ve noticed is that we let our education get to us and we limit ourselves to what we’ve studied where in actual fact what you’ve studied should equip you not define you – You are not your qualification, you are more than a piece of paper. To gain inspiration kindly read Lonalinamandla Bawuti’s story where this advertising graduate is helping her sister’s fruit stall in Mthatha thrive. This story is example of how utilising what you have can to get you to the next level.


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                   Lots of Love, Phindy