Nightmares of a Zimbabwean Graduate

PHOTO CREDIT: Arthur Chatora
In the past 2 years, Zimbabwe has been plagued by a difficult economy to say the least. The crisis has most recently been characterized by strikes in protest for better salaries and working conditions by civil servants such as teachers, doctors and nurses. Due to the unbearable financial currency dilemma in Zimbabwe, prices of consumables are no longer affordable to the ordinary citizen. Companies are crumbling because of lack of sound currency and financial reforms in the country, while retrenchments are becoming inevitable for those already working. Having recently graduated from University I asked myself, "how is my degree going to help me survive if other qualified people are struggling like this?"

In every pre-election period in Zimbabwe since 2013, the people were promised jobs and citizens of all ages and tribes and races and levels of education went out to vote with confidence that things were going to get better. Unfortunately the only job that was easy to get was "job-hunting." In my observation, most graduates in Zimbabwe do either of 2 things when they graduate: leave the country immediately or find something to do to survive even if it's not what they studied for at college. Very few graduates in Zimbabwe today actually get to do what they are really passionate about or what they actually studied for at college. As a result Zimbabwe is losing more and more graduates and skilled people because of lack of equal opportunities and practically sustainable solutions from the government itself. 

The gospel of entrepreneurship has been spread to a lot of young people and graduates in Zimbabwe over the years. However the financial ecosystem in Zimbabwe is presently not healthy for entrepreneurs and this is because of lack of access to adequate capital, lack of sound currency reforms and stable markets. Local companies and businesses are counting their losses caused by the currency problem; our “Bond Note” cannot be used outside the country. Subsequently recruiters and employers are opting to cut costs rather than to employ people. This is the reality on the ground and the actual plight of a Zimbabwean graduate today. The leadership in Zimbabwe needs to walk the talk and act on what they promise the people. When you promise people jobs, give them jobs not excuses or speeches. In times like this, young people need to be given a chance to put their ideas and visions to the test.

In spite of all this the young people of Zimbabwe need encouragement to push through the current situation. I know the question running through the minds of every Zimbabwean graduate is: "How will I survive in such an environment?" My answer is simple and straight forward - don't depend on that job, depend on your own ideas. Understand that the chance of getting a job no longer depends on one's grades but mostly on the power of their connections. And while acknowledging this reality is sad, it is important for us to realize that in order for our country to be a "paradise" we will enjoy for ourselves, the older generation needs to pave way for the youth! Above all we must begin to see for ourselves that this is a chance for the youth to stand up and build their own legacy - not renovate old structures which already have ownership.

About The Author
Vincent Tshuma currently serves as a Senior Program Coordinator for Ignite The Youth. He has been heavily engaged in mobilizing civil society on youth-related issues for 2 years and counting!

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