September 02, 2015 06:24 UTC

As It Is

Fighting South Africa’s Jobless Crisis

South Africans cast their votes in May 7, 2014 elections. The ruling African National Congress returned to power despite concerns over unemployment and corruptions.
South Africans cast their votes in May 7, 2014 elections. The ruling African National Congress returned to power despite concerns over unemployment and corruptions.

Related Articles

Audio In South Africa, Small Shops Fight for Survival

Local spaza owners are struggling as immigrant-owned and foreign retail companies increase their share of the South African market | As It Is
Fighting South Africa’s Jobless Crisis
Fighting South Africa’s Jobless Crisisi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Unemployment remains high in South Africa. It is one of the greatest problems for the country’s youth. So, many young people are starting their own businesses. But not everyone who opens a business is successful.  
 
Job creation was a top goal of the South African government during the first ten years after the end of the policy of racial separation in 1994. However, little progress has been observed in the struggle to create enough jobs.
 
Officials reported last month that the unemployment rate was 25.2% nationwide. That was up from a rate of 24.1% last year.  More than five million South Africans are unemployed. If the people who stopped looking for work were included in the report, the rate would be 35.1%.
 
Twenty-four year old Sibusiso Ngcobr says he can no longer wait for the government to create a job for him.
 
“It’s hard to find a job. You can’t sit and maybe your brains would blast out of your mind, because, like, you can’t sit and do nothing. You can’t wait, I have to eat, I have brothers to support, I have a family to feed.”
 
Instead, he and other South Africans like him are creating their own companies. But he says the government’s attempts to help small-business owners like him -- people with just a basic education -- are hurt by too many rules.
 
“Coming back from a previously-disadvantaged background, you don’t have security, your house is just a small house, and then you go to the bank -- you have a great, brilliant idea, they say they want surety, they want collateral -- what do you have? You have nothing. You can’t say ‘I have got my high school diploma, here is it -- you can’t say that. So you actually have to start from the grassroots.”
 
Beginning from "grassroots” is what Ludwick Marishane did. As a young man, he started businesses in the northern province of Limpopo -- a place with high levels of poverty. Some of his businesses failed.
 
But one day, as he and a friend were lying in the sun, he had an idea. His friend did not want to wash up, and wondered why no one had created a product to help those who could not, or did not want to, bathe. A few years later, with little money, Ludwick Marishane created “Dry Bath Gel.” It saves time for some, and helps those who do not have use of clean water themselves.
 
“I scraped (together) whatever, whatever resource(s) I had available. I didn’t have a computer or resources like that so I would have to use the local computer café, or internet café, where it cost me about $2 an hour to use the internet in all day. And my allowance per week was about five dollars -- that was my pocket money and lunch money.”
 
In his last year of high school, he wrote an 8,000-word business plan on a simple telephone, and sent it to 80 investors. But none of them would agree to risk their money on a young inventor with a product that they believed mostly helped poor people. So he began looking in other places.
 
“I looked at different sources -- the different banking loans and the different development loans that government had made available in South Africa for small businesses, and I was unsuccessful -- part of it was the red tape and the amount of bureaucracy involved in trying to access those types of funds and at the same time my business wasn’t a bankable idea.”
 
So he entered the product into competitions, and slowly gained investors. Now, Mr. Marishane holds legal rights to his invention.  In fact, he is the youngest patent-holder in South Africa.

 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ukay from: Indonesia
06/12/2014 2:55 AM
Inspirator youth.. we hope we can learn from him


by: Ana Camacho from: Miramar, Fda., U.S.A.
06/09/2014 5:15 PM
I can't coment, because I am learning English.

In Response

by: Moderator
06/13/2014 6:32 PM
Dear Ana,

Sure you can comment!

We're glad you're learning American English.

Keep writing.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Christopher Cruise

Learn with The News

  • Audio Obama Hikes Melting Glacier to Highlight Climate Change

    President Obama is touring Alaska to send the message that quick action is needed to combat climate change. Those who do not believe in climate change are standing on a "shrinking island," he said. Mr. Obama asked the world to respond quickly to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. More

  • Audio UN: Temple Destruction Is a 'Crime Against Civilization'

    A United Nations official says Islamic State militants have destroyed the Temple of Bel in the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. The head of the U.N.’s cultural agency is calling the destruction, an “intolerable crime against civilization.” More

  • Video Iran Seeking Foreign Visitors and Their Money

    The agreement between Iran and six world powers will ease financial restrictions on the Middle Eastern nation. Iranians hope that the end of travel restrictions will lead to more foreigners visiting the country. In London, travel agents say some people are already asking about how they can visit. More

  • Audio China's Manufacturing Slowdown Worries Investors

    Also, Europe struggles to deal with a migrant wave; President Obama urges action on climate change; Thai officials arrest a bombing suspect; and protests in Lebanon increase. More

  • Audio US Preparing Sanctions Against China

    The United States is preparing to act against Chinese who steal trade secrets using the Internet. The actions could freeze accounts and block the transfer of money. They would target thieves who use the Internet to steal U.S. trade secrets. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Are You Too Smart for Your Own Good?

    If you think being smart is always a good thing, think again. Smart has many meanings. Read on to find out what they are and the surprising origin of the term Smart Aleck. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Fun with Future Tenses

    English has several ways to talk about the future. It's one of the most flexible tenses in English. We visit some popular songs for examples of the future forms. Read and listen as the Everyday Grammar team shows you six ways to express an event in the future. You will not regret it! More

  • Video A Horseman in the Sky by Ambrose Bierce

    Carter Druse lived in Virginia, a southern state during the American Civil War. He had a tough decision to make - should he join the Confederate Army or the Union Army? Read this classic American Story to find out what decision he makes, and what it means to his father and fellow soldiers. More

  • Audio Betty Azar, 'Rock Star' of English Grammar

    It all started with a question from a student. The year was 1965. Betty Azar was teaching her first English as a Second Language class at the University of Iowa. A student from the Middle East asked Ms. Azar, “Why can’t I put a in front of water?’ As in ‘I drank a water.’” More

  • Audio Millions with Mental Illness Get Little or No Treatment

    The World Health Organization reports that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have a mental disorder. However, the WHO adds that most get little or no treatment. Learn the vocabulary needed to talk about this important study. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs