Buy food or look for work — the awful choice facing young South Africans.
The process of looking for a job involves many costs, ranging from data packages to taxi fares, printing rates to application fees. For a young person like Buhle Jentilemane, living in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, these are costs she can ill afford.
Jentilemane has been hunting for work for more than a year. She was laid off from her previous job in February 2021 due to the pressures the Covid-19 pandemic placed on her workplace.
“[The Covid-19 pandemic] impacted me because before it I was employed, and I even signed a contract of permanence, but I would say I signed on [permanently] in December , then next thing in February the following year I was unemployed,” said Jentilemane.
At around the same time that Jentilemane lost her job she became a new mother. Supporting her family, including her child, mother and sisters, has been a struggle ever since. Paying for data is one of the most challenging aspects of the job-seeking process for Jentilemane. The expense is made all the more frustrating by the lack of results her online efforts produce.
“They post a job online, they say apply. It’s just a waste of time,” she said. “I’ve been applying — I don’t know how many CVs — but never got even a rejection email saying, ‘Sorry, you didn’t meet the requirements’… it was just like I didn’t even send a CV.”
Often, Jentilemane has to choose between spending money on finding a job and purchasing necessities for herself and her family.