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A jewel inside the Diamond City


GREY MUTTER: I was genuinely surprised the other day when I found a clean, neat, litter-free hub literally metres from the Kimberley CBD. I just stood there and looked, heart beating warmly with pride and admiration, writes Lance Fredericks.

Seeing as young people are in front of screens so much these days, why not encourage them to make some cash off it. Picture: qiaominxu 橋茗旭 from Pixabay

I HAVE been blessed to have been travelling quite a bit recently; enough to make any mere mortal’s head spin. In fact, such has been the experience of these jaunts that I sometimes wonder to myself, “Was I, or am I dreaming?”

This uncertainty of whether I have breached the veil between the dreamworld and reality got a bit ridiculous just more than a week ago, when I again started to wonder, “Have I left South Africa again?”

Unfortunately for my restless spirit, but fortunately for my stretched budget, I was right here in good old Kimberley, but what I experienced was – I think one could call – an ‘out of city experience’.

I was standing in the parking area at the local Shoprite Centre, between Sidney Street and Bultfontein Road, not far from the little taxi rank offering rides to Ritchie, Douglas and Boshof, and to my awe and wonder … that little corner of Kimberley was clean, spotless, even pristine!

I was genuinely surprised, because here was a clean, neat, litter-free hub literally metres from the Kimberley CBD. I just stood there and looked, heart beating warmly with pride and admiration.

Soon I noticed a young man meticulously and diligently doing his job emptying a bin, gathering up slips of paper and replacing the used garbage bag with a fresh one.

To me, this young person was not a cleaner … he was a hero!

My mind went on a tour inside itself: Was it this young man’s ambition to be ‘just a cleaner’? Probably not. Would he have liked to have a better job? It’s a possibility … However, watching him I knew that if and when that ‘better job’ comes along, this young man would be ready for it because he had learned some of the main qualities one needs when working – diligence, discipline and effort.

I shuddered remembering that South Africa’s unemployment rate is insanely high. According to one survey, among young South Africans (15 to 24 years), the unemployment rate was at 60.7 percent.

I recently read an article where it was mentioned that Forbes – a global media company – did a survey on the SA unemployment problem.

Forbes highlighted an issue with discipline among South Africans, particularly evident in the state of school grounds in the country. A notable contrast can be seen in Japan, where children are tasked with maintaining the cleanliness of school premises.

The result is that this culture of discipline extends beyond schools, contributing to the cleanliness of Japanese towns and cities, where litter is noticeably scarce.

But if a principal or school board tried to implement something like this in South Africa, I suspect that there would be more than a few parents who would be up in arms, protesting the violation of their precious laaitie’s rights.


Therefore I am not suggesting that schools implement clean-up programmes. I wouldn’t want angry parents picketing outside the DFA offices. Besides, teaching our children discipline and cleanliness is a long-term project; a project we have to teach – by demonstration – as adults, and buy into as a nation.

In the short term, we have an already pressing problem with the high youth unemployment rate.

In the article I mentioned earlier, titled ‘By the sweat of your brow’, Corrie Kruger unpacks reason upon reason for the high unemployment rate in South Africa – too many to even mention – but then refers to a book by Graeme Foley, in which Foley suggests a number of ideas for young people to generate an income.

These, according to Foley, include “micro or small businesses such as a personal buyer, transporting children to schools, cleaning houses with green techniques, freelance writing, language lessons for children, a mobile DJ organising spa parties, face painter, treehouse builder …”

In fact, these days, given a WiFi connection and a laptop young people can generate a handsome income doing work online – after all if there is no work IN South Africa, maybe they can do work FROM South Africa.

Perhaps it’s time for our youth to throw their job-hunting net wider. Work opportunities out there fall into different categories.

For someone who needs to generate an income and who is keen on doing online surveys and testing, there are companies like Ipsos, where you can share your opinions on familiar brands and get paid in cash or gift cards, there’s also Toulana where applicants participate in surveys and test or review consumer products.

If Virtual Assistant Work is more up your alley, check for platforms that are looking for help converting audio or video content into written text. Check around, there could even be Data Entry opportunities where you get paid for populating spreadsheets or databases.

Yes, I know the saying, “Find the job you love and you will never work a day in your life” and I believe that. I also believe the other saying that “It’s better to eat than to not”.

In South Africa, it is also alarming that about 12% of graduates are unemployed. Maybe (just maybe) our educated, unemployed youth can look into – while waiting for their big break – online tutoring and teaching; put your services out there, you can make an income and sharpen your skills.

Then there are platforms like FlexJobs, Contena, and Cloud Living that offer freelance writing gigs.

Now writing may not sound all that thrilling, but in the long run it could turn out to be more lucrative than wishing you had your dream job. Who knows, it could be more addictive than watching videos on TikTok and Instagram all day.

And to the young people out there who are frustrated and desperate, and probably feeling dejected and cast off, after trying almost everything, all I can say is, go out there and, though it may seem impossible, the last thing you want to do, try again.

It’s Maya Angelou that said, “Nothing will work unless you do.”

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