Unemployment Becomes Industry for the Youth

To the unemployed Namibian youth, unemployment has also become an industry which not everyone will understand, until they are unemployed.

Life in the unemployment industry recording the experiences of unemployed youths in Namibia in their own words, is a study by Ndeshi Namupala from the Department of Sociology at the University of Namibia among the unemployed youths in the regions of Khomas and Ohangwena. The study brings stories of how young people experiences unemployment in their everyday lives. The study is based on a 14-day self-completion diary in which the youths wrote what it mean to be unemployed in their everyday lives, record how they spent time as unemployed individuals, whether or not they went out to look for work and what type of job they aspired to have. Therein they also had to indicate how often they received support such as clothes, food and money and from whom?

Their stories give a glimpse into their experiences of unemployment during what should be the most productive period of their lives. According to Namupala, “Life in the Unemployment Industry ” is an expression that was raised by the diary participants. “Usually when one thinks of an industry, they mean for instance manufacturing, tourism, mining, something that produces goods and services within an economy. Now, when you have a young people referring to their unemployment situation as an industry, it becomes scary and calls for one to pay close and urgent attention to what they mean by “Life in the Unemployment Industry,” says Namupala.

She adds that this situation has caused that their self-worth dips as they do not feel useful. Many compared themselves to their peers who are working and this comparison reminds them of their unemployment problems. “I do not feel like I am a youth like my age mates who are working because up to now my parents, friends and relatives are supporting me. As an unemployed youth I feel my usefulness as such is declining on a daily basis. I think that I am useless, especially when I cannot help myself. I feel my life has declined or has gone down so much and I feel that I am just an ordinary person. I am someone who cannot compare himself with people that are working because I am still being supported. From my side I feel I am not valued as a youth of Namibia,” a 27- year-old participant from the Ohangwena region emphasises.

Namupala says living with uncertainty includes a range of life situations whereby participants feel part of their lives have been halted as a result of being jobless. For many of the participants, finding a job may be the only way for them to feel like a free and independent adult, leaving their family, getting married and establishing a separate household. Without employment, many of these youths are forced to lead a dependent lives out of necessity. “To them job hunting is work by itself and it is becoming expensive for them every day. They need transport and photocopies which they have to do all the time as they do not get their copy back,” says Namupala.

The preliminary results presented are part of the ongoing PhD research that she is currently busy with.

Source : New Era