Zimbabwe’s Youth Unemployment
By Paul Ndiho
Young people in Zimbabwe are coming together to solve daily challenges as the nation struggles amid violent protests. They say they need jobs instead of a crackdown to make ends meet.
Every day young people gather in different rooms at Open Parly, Magamba networks’ creative space for innovation located in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. They are journalists, and activists representing various communities. Munya Bloggo manages the space.
“This place is model of what young Zimbabweans can do; young Zimbabweans aspire to do, this is something that came from ordinary Zimbabweans who saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it and opened it up to other young people to come and use it.”
While their eyes are fixated on their laptop screens, these young people are also focused on a mission. They are collaborating, and developing strategies to stay afloat during this economic downturn. Tatenda Simugayi is determined to keep pushing on despite challenges.
“I’m an activist because of the realization that being young I can’t continue to watch and wait for someone to do things for me. It’s frustrating, and the point is we have to do something about it. This is why I’m part of movement building, part of the solution creation to end this crisis.”
This is the harsh reality of Zimbabwe’s soaring unemployment rate that is particularly hard-hitting on young graduates. Faith Mvododo says she is hoping for a better future.
“We have a situation whereby a young person has gone through university, and they can’t find an internship, they can’t find a job, and this has been quite sad for a lot of youth out there…. I’d appreciate it if they can bring up an incentive where the young can get subsidized fees allotment.”
Audrey Mutweri, shares a similar sentiment.
“For me as a young person, we need jobs. Currently, there are no jobs anywhere, and there graduates on the streets everywhere… We need something different.”
This creative space is getting a lot of attention, especially from the government and other security agencies. The shared space is seen as a rallying center for young people, who are often viewed as a threat to the establishment in light of the current protests.
“We have been targeted before, and we understand the risks of what comes with what we do. This building almost got demolished when the city council targets us. They tried to demolish saying that it was an illegal structure. Our community came to our rescue and started a #hashtag save motto republic, and they got the mayor, the minister to stop the demolition.”
Zimbabwe has been coping with a wave of protests from a groups representing nearly 500-thousand civil servants across the country. Many unemployed young people say they are determined to keep the pressure on the government. And so far, there no end in sight to the demonstrations. Armed soldiers are maintaining a presence on the streets. At least ten people have been reported killed in the unrest and more than 300 wounded, according to doctors and human right workers.