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Source: Ylanite Koppens

South African Millennial, Sivuyile Javu responds to ‘What You Need To Know About the Youth Employment Service’ article published by TYI on the 27th of March 2018.

Sivuyile Javu writes…

It was during a lunch break on Tuesday when I read the article on www.tyi.co.za. What is that about? I asked myself.

Oh! Apparently, it is going to help improve our chances of entering the job market. I frowned as I reached for my backpack, searching for a lunchbox that contained a rather boring sandwich. I was still shaken by the listeriosis outbreak. The AM kitchen rush where I prepared my lunchbox and ate cereal simultaneously will never be the same again.

As I read further I thought…Wow! But as I reasoned in my head uncertainty began to surface. It was my millennial socialist perspective refusing to see this initiative as an achievement.

I think too much of our focus as a youth has been on the wrongs of the past, on discrimination and the heritage of apartheid as opposed to how we need to cope and deal with the challenges we are faced with presently. It is no secret that the history of our country has affected where we are today- we cannot deny that. I am realising that we lack skills and experience, especially black youth.

As the black youth, we not only share the struggles of the youth in general but also the additional drawbacks of having grown up in disadvantaged communities and having experienced a still-crippled public education system, which really is making it quite difficult for us to climb the economic ladder.

On the 5th of December 2017, I recorded an interview with Dr Nadia Sanger, a lecturer on Women’s and Gender Studies at Stellenbosch University. What struck me the most during this interview was hearing that as young people in South Africa we are clearly frustrated. We are frustrated with the slowness of the system.

We see the capitalist system that defines the society we live in as a threat to our economic development and one which is only benefiting a few. We are not realising that education does not mean better jobs and decent salaries but its simply a greater chance at enabling us to access job opportunities.

Our reputation is that of a generation that is difficult to work with; a generation that feels entitled. We demand radical change and we sometimes make ridiculous demands while we perform next to nothing.

What is the matter I wonder? My guess is that we have lost a sense of our values, of what is important and not what we feel is important.

Time, for example, something I learned the hard way- is of great importance. I have become careful with how I spend my money. It is nothing much but it definitely is able to sustain me. The R 600 I save from my R 9 000 salary a month after a string of monthly expenses is difficult to do, but worth it.

We want to experience life and have fun. We are in our 20s and we want to enjoy ourselves. A Saturday spent in Cape Town involves:

1. Entry into Rands, a tapas bar & restaurant
2. A bottle of Moët
3. #instamoments
4. Heading to Long Street
5. A midnight snack
6. An Uber ride home
7. A few hours of sleep
8. Cure the hangover
9. Repeat process

A lifestyle is a choice, and the choices we make be it wise or not- are bound to have consequences. ‘#Sundaychill ‘ is not a part of my vocabulary. The process of teaching and disciplining myself includes valuing my career goals over my #relationshipgoals. Personal development is a big deal to me.

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The relationship I have with myself and those who are physically around me is crucial. It’s not the best but I am constantly working on it. I critique my work and give myself credit when it’s due. My work includes videography, video editing and photography. Outside of work and sometimes in between work when the creative spark hits I squeeze in some reading and writing. My writing is slow and part of motivating myself is through understanding that it is a process. Not an easy process but one that requires time and patience.

I am a village boy. Part of keeping myself sane from the emotionally and financially demanding life of the city is by occasionally making time to get away from the city. And I don’t mean going to Krwakrwa to herd my father’s livestock. By the way growing up I tolerated herding sheep and cattle but never had a good relationship with the goats because of their grazing habits; they were always on the move and this meant spending a lot of my time in the veld.

My friends and I played out scenes from Generations (South African drama series), we ran our businesses by typing and sending emails to each other from our stone computers and driving around in small stone shaped cars. Our business day ended quite early as we would head to the river to build our holiday homes with clay. This was fun, we were creating our own realities and kept our imagination going.

We have to find a place, even if it means in our heads where we are away from the crazy realities of the world; where we are able to reset and recharge. I never talk about this but I have hiking listed as one of my hobbies on my CV and frankly, I don’t hike that often to even consider hiking as a hobby, at least not now in my youth. But when I do, when I reach the top of Lion’s Head, there is just something majestic about being up there.

I feel most alive being pushed in by the ocean as it hits against the ridges of the mountain and heads towards me. This is what gets my dopamine levels up more than the likes I get on a Facebook post. This is one of the many experiences that cost next to nothing, that is available to us free of charge, regardless of the economic class we fall under, regardless of whether we get a minimum stipend of R 3 500 a month or otherwise.

We all have to start somewhere to work our way up the economic ladder and that is a fact. This might appear harsh but facts? Facts really do not care about our feelings.

All we need to do is get our *ish together, get the job done and suck it up.

| Follow Sivuyile on Twitter: @Sivu_Javu |

[The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of TYI, or Independent Media.]

*ish – stuff/ affairs