Freedom Day means frustration for retrenched young graduate

Kgomotso Mokobi
Kgomotso Mokobi
Image: Supplied

Retrenchments have become a  norm in SA but for a young university graduate, Kgomotso Mokobi, the shock can be unbelievable.

Mokobi, who holds a marketing management degree from the University of Johannesburg, has been stuck at home since she was laid off at the beginning of this year.

The 26-year-old had been working for a marketing agency for just under four years when she was told to pack her bags and leave. The setback has made her question the state of youth unemployment in the country 25 years into democracy.

“Being unemployed at this early stage of my life makes me feel like I am not growing. I feel kind of boxed in. I feel stagnant and not moving. The past 25 years of my life has just been almost nothing. It sucks man, it sucks being a young adult and being dependent on your parents when you should be building the foundation for them to retire comfortable and taking care of them,” she said.

Growing up she had aspirations of becoming a model and television presenter but instead opted to continue with her studies. As a young black female BCom marketing management graduate she said it took her four years to complete the course.

While at university, Mokobi faced a challenge trying to balance her social life and studies. But 2016 was the year she would be able to brag different.

“I am in a different kind of societal class, and I am not just some random uneducated person. It gives you these bragging rights. Even when you are having conversations with people you feel proud of saying I am a graduate."

Immediately after hearing she was about to hit the real world she updated her CV.

“I had to think about the direction I was going to take and where I wanted to grow my skills. My strategy was to get into marketing or work for an agency because that’s where you will get experience about campaigns, events management and conferences.  A marketing agency is fast-paced and there is too much pressure. When you are young you are willing to learn and you want to do as much as possible,” she said.

Being a graduate in a 25-year-old democracy made her feel like there was ineffective empowerment or development for the youth.

“The year we got democracy was the year I was born, and now I am unemployed. I feel like the youth do not have the voice to push for change in their communities," she added, noting that as the nation celebrated Freedom Day on Saturday, she did not have plans to join in the celebrations.

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