There has been a lot of complaints about youth unemployment in Namibia and it has become a widely talked about issue. The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.
According to the “Status of the Namibian Economy’’ document, Namibia’s labour market looks more vulnerable with unemployment increasing over the years and employment decreasing. The working age population has increased by 55 593 new entrants into the labour market. A significant share of the youth population is unemployed at 43.4 percent (aged 15-34 years), which is an increase of 4.4 percent from 2014, and almost 12 percent difference between males and females.
This heavily affects the youth as they are the most in the country and are considered the leaders of tomorrow. But as much as we are crying for many unemployed youths in Namibia, and trying to come up with new ways of creating jobs, we ought to be proud of the fact that there are Namibian youths abroad that are working day in and day out to make a living and more importantly to represent the country.
Paheja Siririka (PS) caught up with second respondent who is not a stranger to some in Namibia. A University of Namibia (Unam) alumnus with a BA in Journalism and a former radio presenter. He is currently studying Mandarin (Chinese language) and doing a degree in International Relations and Politics at the University of Johannesburg. This is Berneth Koopman (29), who has been employed there as an administrator for two years now.
What took you there in the first place?
Studies and the media world.
What is the biggest challenge of working in a foreign country as a Namibian?
Not having your support system at your disposal, but as time goes by you eventually get things cracking and a new support system is formed. For me thus far it has been smooth sailing as I had friends that lived here and a few family members so, I was quite settled.
For many Namibians I have encountered in my years in the big city, its always difficult finding a job or paper work and this forces them to go back home.
What are the chances of you coming back home?
Slim, very, very, very slim. I have made a life over here and I call the big city of Johannesburg home. It’s never easy to adjust in Johannesburg but once you find your vibe and your tribe you ought to be settled.
If you had the opportunity to amend and enact something that would create a platform for youth employment in Namibia, what would it be?
Our business mindset, stop copying and pasting because eventually it won’t work out. If by any chance you see something that someone else is doing, tweak it in a way that suits you and your clientele and run with it. If it fails, adjust it and start again. The objective is not to give up but to put something in place that eventually works and would last.
Anyone who is aspiring to work abroad, what tips do you have for her/him?
It’s going to be damn hard, nothing great has ever been easy, you will have a lot of bad days and you would feel lost many times. There will be broke, broke days. You will have days with no food, no shelter but this comes back to your tribe you meet along the way. Let those hard times be a motivation as it only results into damn amazing years ahead. You will lose friendships along the way as they might have been your way out and you used them to get through these bad days. Lies and pride will get you nowhere. If it is difficult for you to open up you’d be stuck and miserable and let your dreams and reason for coming abroad fade away in a blink of an eye. Be very open-minded and vigilant at all times and don’t let a quick fix be your way out. I have been offered cocaine and was asked to sleep my way up but I took the opposite route of hard work pays off and the nice things [in life] are always temporary as hard work pays for so much better. Stand your ground, be true to yourself ALWAYS.
What advice do you have to the youth?
To go for what they believe is a great idea and put it into working. There is never a stupid or unrealistic idea. In Johannesburg, you could literally buy a new life on the streets, LOL. Put your ideas out there, there will eventually be someone that buys into your idea, and all this time you could be sitting on gold.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-20 10:46:29 3 months ago