Things fall apart

05 November 2018 | Columns

It is easy to imagine the hopes and dreams parents, family and guardians have for youth who successfully navigate their way through tertiary studies.

These youth, perhaps more so than others, who for manifold reasons do not don graduation gowns, represent the vitality and effervescence to become the engines of economic livelihoods for their communities and families. And yet, here we sit in a nation that sees many thousands of graduates roaming the streets, jobless.

This is indeed a crisis of national proportions and cannot be allowed to continue.

Last Friday we showcased some of the horrific stories of anxiety and depression associated with these youth being unemployed. They are desperate and floundering, with no hope in sight for their anguish.

Two Namibian university graduates are currently scouting for odd jobs selling newspapers or working in tuck shops and boutiques after years of futile and desperate job hunts in their fields of study.

Other graduates are becoming taxi drivers, security guards and food vendors to earn a living. For example, Esther Kambole (27) has been unemployed since she graduated with an honours degree in public management four years ago.

She has applied for more than 100 jobs in Namibia and elsewhere, including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Cameroon and Burundi.

Labour permanent secretary Bro-Matthew Shinguadja said unemployment among young graduates could lead to loss of skills, as well as hope. “They may migrate to other countries, change areas of specialisation or, worse, become so desperate to the extent that may embark on unintended actions.”

Unam economics professor Omu Kakujaha-Matundu has repeatedly warned that youth unemployment is a powder keg waiting to be lit.

Earlier this year, a deputy director in the ministry of higher education, Nhlanhla Lupahla, was quoted as saying there were an estimated 67 000 jobless graduates in Namibia.

Their pain and suffering are tangible, as they wait in vain for some kind of intervention or help from above. It's time for a national job's summit, as a matter of urgency.

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