'I'm 26 and unemployed, it's left me hopeless and put me off starting a family'


Nono Dube shares how being unable to find work has made life unbearable.

I grewup an intelligent, energetic child. Like any other kid and then teen, I had a lot of dreams for my future. I wanted to see myself succeed and make something of myself.

I matriculated when I was 18 years old. I passed but my marks were not enough for me to get a bursary. But I didn’t let that break my spirit.

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I chose to study via distance learning and do a short course so I could get a decent, well-paying job. Now I am 26 years old, unemployed with no income and feeling worthless.


I have created a CV and over the years, I’ve submitted it to various companies, but they just never hire me. I spend most of my time sitting at home, feeling depressed and useless. I try not to sink into a deep depression but it’s just not easy as most of my peers have made it in life.

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They’re living their best lives, driving their dream cars. Some are married and have kids, but I don’t have any of those things. I am in the same place I was a decade ago. I cannot even bring myself to start a family because I have no income.

I fear I’ll struggle to support my kids financially. I fear I’ll fail them as a mother and bring them into a life of hardship and poor living conditions.


Sometimes I sit and think that maybe I was born to suffer. I think of committing suicide because the pressure that comes with being old and unemployed is just too much. I pray, meditate and fast but still, there is no breakthrough. I feel like the universe is against me.

My matric and short course certificates are gathering dust on my wall. And I feel ashamed that I still depend on my mother for things like food and sanitary pads. I ask myself if there is a God. Why am I suffering so much? What did I do to deserve the misery I am going through?

It hurts so bad and I really try not to let it depress me, but it seems the more I try, the harder things become.


I know I am not the only person going through this pain, so I urge parents to stop comparing their kids with kids who have made it. Stop making your kids feel like they’ve failed in life. Instead, pray for a positive change in your child’s life and never judge them.

Life is not a walk in the park and nobody woke up and decided not to work and do better. To those who are not working, soldier on. It is for a reason and a purpose that things turned out the way they did. Keep on praying, hustling and sending out your CV. It is just a matter of time before you get a job. Do not lose hope.

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To those working, please stop making the unemployed feel like failures. It is not by their choices that things didn’t work out. Instead of putting them down, rather tell them about a job opening at your place of work. You will be contributing to empowering your fellow brother or sister and you will not lose anything by sharing job opportunities with others.

To the government, please create jobs and stop hiring your friends and family. Please create fair job opportunities and hire on merit, not connections. Your youth is sinking into depression, drugs and substance abuse because they’re not taken seriously. The youth are the future – by empowering them you will be adding towards a positive change in South Africa.


Many South Africans are demoralised to find a job after so many doors have been shut on their faces. However, there is something one can do to keep the morale.

Careers24.com suggest some few things could go about doing this:

Consider career coach to help you figure out possible areas for improvement such as your interview skills, the way you go about your job hunt etc.

The site suggests to also keep on up skilling yourself. If you can demonstrate by means of a certificate or qualification that you’re actively upgrading and updating your skills, it’ll work in your favour.

The experts say volunteering can come in handy as you will require more knowledge about the industry you plan to get into.

*Name has been changed to protect the reader's identity

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