Youth Month: After six jobless years in SA, this ex-Durbanite is thriving in Abu Dhabi

Published Jun 19, 2023


Durban - A 37-year-old woman who spent six years searching for a job after she graduated with a Diploma in Journalism in 2011 said she had no option but to leave South Africa for greener pastures.

The former Durbanite, who asked to remain anonymous, is currently living in the United Arab Emirates and teaching.

As youth unemployment remains an issue in the country, the woman opened up to IOL about her personal challenges faced while she remained unemployed for over six years.

“Shortly after graduating, I applied to many radio stations and newspapers. The only call I got was from a local radio station, and nothing came of it. I even tried volunteering at local newspapers for the experience,” she said.

“It was really frustrating. I landed an internship that only lasted only six months as the company was not doing well but even with that experience, I wasn’t able to find anything in the media field. I was unemployed for about six years.”

The woman said as soon as she landed in the United Arab Emirates, she was able to find work in the education field as she had experience.

“But without a qualification, I wasn’t earning a great salary.”

She is currently working as a Foundation Stage teacher for an International School in Abu Dhabi.

“I am employed for 4 years now, and I love my job. This is my passion. I was discouraged to study education in SA, as there is no progression and a large number of students with little or no resources,” she said.

“I regret not studying an education degree in SA. I settled for journalism, and therefore, I didn’t succeed in the area.”

She currently has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a bookkeeping certificate and is currently studying towards a Master's of Arts in Education.

She feels leaving South Africa was the best decision for her.

“There are definitely tons of opportunities here in the United Arab Emirates,” she said.

“Apart from opportunities, it is safe and secure for woman. If you have a qualification, the sky's the limit. In SA, whether you are highly qualified, it makes no difference.”

The woman said every day, she hears about the challenges of unemployment in SA.

“I hear every day from friends and family about the difficulties of finding work.

“Many graduates are opting to leave the country for better opportunities.”

She described the period in her life being unemployed as dark.

“It was so stressful being unemployed, knowing that you would do your best and be willing to do any job just to get yourself in and work from there. It also hurt my self-esteem.

“I love the country I was born in and would have been more than happy to stay there and progress. I still maintain that apart from the crime, SA is the best country in the world. Nothing beats home. I was really sad to leave.”

* Name withheld for her privacy.