Unemployment levels bite Malawian youths hard in SA


Some Malawian youths based in South Africa have conceded that things are no longer rosy with the rising levels of unemployment in the Rainbow Nation.

Derrick Chihana, who returned from the country on Sunday, confided in this reporter that the situation has left most Malawians, especially the youths, destitute and prone to promiscuous behaviours for daily survival.

“I simply had to come back home. It’s better to be suffering this side than away from home. Things ain’t rosy any more in South Africa,” he said.

According to Chihana, most young people he had met, while still in South Africa, were eagerly considering of coming back home.

“Most of them are still there merely due to lack of transport money. It has reached an extent where to find transport fare for returning home is an uphill task. Life is not easy any more,” he added.

In painting a more gloomy picture, Chihana, who hails from the area of traditional authority Wasambo in Karonga district, alleged that where he was staying, Johannesburg, most girls use what they have to get what they need for survival.

“In a bed sitter, we were living with a girl, aged 17, from Mangochi. We found her loitering in the streets at night, and upon discovery that she was a fellow Malawian, we decided to rescue her from danger.”

He added: “it is dangerous to move at night in South Africa. When we took her, she told us that she had been in the country for a month, without a job, and anywhere to accommodate herself.”

By now, as Chinana puts it, the said girl earns a living through prostitution in night clubs.

We got in touch with her, through Chihana, and out of utter honesty, she confirmed; life is very difficult in South Africa now.

“I have no option but to learn new tactics for survival. I came here for greener pasture but, its hard to clinch a job this time.”

She added: “I’ve been contemplating on coming home, but even there, things are not different from what we’re experiencing here.”

Mercy Chirwa, as we have chosen to describe her in this article, could not hide, but to disclose that she gave her life to fate.

“We’ve many girls, from Malawi, exchanging themselves for a living. Problems pushed us all into things we never thought we’d find ourselves in.”

Due to high unemployment and poverty levels in Malawi, most people, particularly the youth, trek to South Africa and Tanzania for fortunes.

Latest statistics show that over 1 million Malawians are living in South Africa while over 700 thousand are in Tanzania. Out of the said population, 90% is comprised of people under the age of 35.

Due to engaging in risky ways of earning a living, most young people from Malawi, in foreign countries, face alot of brutalities, including being murdered.

During spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, a lot of young people lost their lives while a lot of them continue to face various forms of torture in Tanzania and other countries.

Though we failed to get hold of Malawi’s minister of information for government input on the revelation, governments have been striving to curtail the problem of young people going abroad to search for greener pasture through introduction of various interventions.

Recently, the ministry of finance rolled out a loan project, targeting the  youth,  through the National Economic Empowerment fund (NEEF) which, due to corruption and maladministration has not yielded anything tangible.

However, young people who benefited from the loan fled the country having failed to run businesses because of what most of them claimed to be hostile business environment.

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