I have always itched to share my observations regarding the vagaries resulting from high levels of unemployment within the South African communities, post-1994.
Whilst the new era of democracy has largely been celebrated the direct results of the high levels of unemployment have almost overshadowed the fruits of democracy. The youth has largely been affected by this socio-economic illness.
Unemployment has resulted in the loss of hope and purpose in exasperation and social tension. It has spurred on the equally high levels of crime, promiscuity and teen pregnancy. The advent of child grants has also meant that that more young women became pregnant in order to qualify as recipients of the child grant.
This further meant that there will be more unprotected sex as condoms would frustrate the effort of having a child that guarantees the receipt of a child grant. This further meant that more unprotected sex will mean more new HIV infections. All these factors combined had meant that South Africa will have majority of young, unemployed people heading their households as the elderly had died from HIV/Aids pandemic.
This had indeed that in order for these young people to survive, the few that are working should support, knowingly, willingly and sometimes unwilling the majority who cannot find decent employment. Prostitution of a special type took more shape and form. More unemployed women would seek economic emancipation by selling their souls to the employed men under the guys that they were lovers.
The phenomenon of more men being abused by women who demanded their money became more widespread. On the other hand more women were being preyed upon by unemployed men. What is very interesting though is the varied forms that these relationships take all of these being the relationships of convenience and/or survival.
Older women sexually linked to younger men (Ben Turns) whilst younger women would be found with older men (sugar daddies). Whilst some would argue that there is nothing new with this turn of events I would still argue that although this may be the case it has now taken on new proportions.
I will undoubtedly do a disservice to those who are likely to read this article as I will be attempting to cover a number of issues directly affecting mainly our youth because of unemployment and the ever increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
This scenario has also led to an increased level of alcoholism and drug abuse. Those who sell alcohol have then found means of ensuring that they will provide their clients with alcohol on a credit basis whilst also providing small loans with high interest rates to these patrons. This therefore means that these few employed youths will forever be tied to these shebeen kings or queens as they will stay forever indebted to them.
These factors combined have resulted in a number of unemployed South Africans hooked in drugs and semi-prostitution leeching on the few employed South Africans also hooked on alcohol and drugs whilst deep in debt because of the factors that I have already mentioned, albeit scantily if not haphazardly.
This ugly scenario festers and leads to a high crime rate where electronic gadgets are seen as a reprieve. Cell phones, tablets, i-pads, flat screen TVs quickly disappear from their rightful owners and in less than an hour will be sold at a lesser value at the streets. The illegal proceeds utilised to buy alcohol and drugs.
Different communities experience these social ills at different levels, frequencies, mutations and severities. What then can be done to quell this demon eating into the social fabric with a potential to destroy our nation. Many suggestions have been put forward over time. I have only a few of these. There is a high number of unemployed graduates who need to be assisted in putting themselves into good use and contributing to economic growth.
The large number of matriculants leaving school should be assisted in getting bursaries to further their studies. The provision of child grants and its immediate impact to the young women should be strongly reviewed. The few employed South Africans are under a huge strain to support the huge number of unemployed in our society and yet the government is using their taxes in wasteful expenditure. The ever increasing fuel price, food prices is not helping the cause for the South African communities.
Business fraternity must also join the party in terms of forming partnerships with government with regards to social programmes aimed at developing the impoverished members of the South African society. The manner in which the South African government manages its youth bulge will determine the future prospects of our democracy.