What are the problems that confront the youth of South Africa? What are their solutions and hopes for the future? And, critically, do they still believe that this country can give wings to their dreams? In a series of interviews, ERIN MC LUCKIE checks the pulse of young South Africa.
“For me, South Africa has a bad name because we haven’t exactly been the most responsible over the years, but also in terms of job opportunities because of the way the country’s been run – we are low on opportunities. This is one of the things the youth face and makes it hard for us as we grow up. You don’t know if after school you will even have a life or work.
As a career I definitely want to go into the automotive industry. I see myself as a network designer ‘cause I am very big for art and cars – this is basically my whole dream. However, because of the state our country’s in it is not exactly one of the star careers in terms of industry, so I’m not exactly sure what I am going to do.
My plan is to leave the country, which is not something everyone wants to hear because they say you should be proud of your country, but personally, for me and the things I want to do with my life, I don’t think I am going to be able to do it here. So initially, I was planning on finding a university overseas, because the automotive industry is a lot stronger overseas. But, I really don’t know, the finances are problematic and this country is just not going to do it for me.
My parents are obviously concerned about my prospects of getting a job in this country and are supporting my decision to go overseas. Now it’s just a matter of how I am going to get there, because the reality is I am not going to make it here.
I would change a lot of the way South Africa is structured – the way the running of the country’s structured. They need to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, and they need to figure out what to fix first and last because it is a big country with lots of problems that can’t all be fixed at the same time.
They [the government] need to find a way to see what is more important, then we can figure out steps that we need to take to making the country a better place. When we can start doing that then I think the country is definitely going to prosper and you are definitely going to have a lot of people that are going to want to stay in the country and we can actually move forward from there. But, for now we are in the same place constantly, we’re not moving forward or growing and bettering ourselves here.
The most important thing is making what South Africa already has into a good thing, using our strong points like our tourism industry and trying to make sure that we grow that – we need to get this bigger. There is a problem where we are short on engineers, this has been a problem for a long time and this still hasn’t been fixed, which shows that we are not really going anywhere.
We must find ways to broaden industries and make industries better. Once they can prioritise better and find different ways to approach it, we can actually figure things out. We are in such a state actually that we can’t even figure out what’s most important – we are just all over the place.
I have a younger sister, so my hope for future generations is to have a more structured country because we have so many problems that we are facing and to address how hard it is for a teenager to find work. Teenagers are struggling and people don’t really see it ‘cause they think that they’ve all been through that stage, but we need to realise that this is where our lives start. If we don’t get this milestone or steppingstone, we don’t really have a foundation to grow our lives properly.
So personally, I think if we can just get a properly structured country to the point where we at least have some time to enjoy some things and are not simply struggling for survival. We need to find something to take our minds off of all the problems in South Africa. If we can find ways of working together and not just in separate entities, without biting each other’s heads off, it will help.” DM