Category Archives: My Life as a Graduate

You are not still young, you are just not paying attention.

By Sineke Sibanda

In the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, I interacted with a number of entrepreneurs. It was amazing to see what Africans can do, and it just got me thinking, over and over again.

When I looked at some of the inventions, I thought to myself, I could see a giant rise out of Africa, given the next 20 years of a consistent positive attitude towards development.

So I heard people talk after the whole day at Trade Fair, the complaints ensued from the fact that our African countries do not have opportunities, they were too young and lots of other things. I thought to myself, is it really because there are no opportunities or people are simply not paying attention?

I sincerely believe that we are not too young, too broke or too whatever, we are simply not paying attention.

With the current state of African economies, it might need about 70-140 years of consistent development for it to reach where the first world countries are right now; and to think there are no opportunities is injustice to the future generations.

I’m not necessarily shunning out that Africa, including its leadership have a problem but my point is, we are not doing enough to make ourselves better. One of the biggest opportunities you have is that in trying to answer a need in your society, you inadvertently make yourself better.

One of the things I have learnt in my Critical theory courses and Popular Culture classes is that capitalism, which is largely the driving force behind world systems today thrives on competition and false consciousness where we are made to think that everything we want in the world have. Capitalism creates imaginary solutions, there is a lot we still need and we can still do in Africa, as Africans if we pay attention.

A capitalist system that is also stealing our time right now is the school system. Most of us are made to believe that we can only make meaningful changes after graduating but by the time we graduate, we already have other pressures that force us instead to look for a job and answer immediate needs within our families. This creates little time for us to think bigger and beyond, before we know it, we have all been working for a capitalist and we are looking forward to retiring. What solution have we brought to the world, or our communities? Nothing. To be frank, Africa’s children need to poke the bubble of false consciousness sooner and help Africa be the place to be.

We need to start paying attention to what matters! That which is beyond just us…

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The After Life

The semester is ending; I am almost done with the examinations.

Been boggled about what is next,

What next after university.

What should one be doing as they wait anxiously for the final results that will determine whether they will graduate or not….

Well, it is now more about the title and graduating that matters most than the life after that because still, it is unknown.

The economy has managed to play that part quite well,

No companies to accommodate us all,

No stable economy,

No JOBS!!!

The song has been sung over and over but still no jobs.

 

It is a feeling filled up with mixed emotions for most part fours, at least most of my colleagues.

It is nice to finish varsity because of the stressful assignments but then what next…

Most companies are not employing, story of every Zimbabwean.

Staying at home and just waiting is not ideal also.

Year in and year out thousands graduate and most graduates only hope for a better future.

Amidst the uncertainties of life hope is not lost, hope that our government will eventually act and do something to cater for the thousands of unemployed graduates around Zimbabwe.

But just like the afterlife, it remains unknown…

 

 

 

 

 

CHRONICLES OF A GRADUATE

It’s common knowledge that getting a Degree, Masters or PhD requires hard work and commitment.  Anyway, it is meant to be.

Some even say that if you’re not up all night working or skipping meals, you’re doing it wrong. But while Degree, Masters or PhD students are not so naive as to enter the program expecting an easy ride, there is a cost to the endeavor that no one talks about: a psychological one.

‘The days I spent pursuing my PhD in physics were some of my darkest’, said a PhD holder. ‘It wasn’t the intellectual challenges or the workload that brought me down; it was my deteriorating mental health. I felt unsupported, and adrift in uncertainty. Anxiety attacks became a part of my daily life. Day in and day out I started thinking that maybe I was not cut out for this, my Masters was enough for me’.

People say it is worth every sweat, cent and you have to commit 100 percent, but what about the mental breakdowns, the fatigue, depression, anxiety and the headaches. All around the world graduates suffer from one thing or another because of too much reading or confusion at times but it is all worth it at the end because they do get jobs unlike in Zimbabwe where a person has to struggle or wait 5 or more years to get employed.

It has been reported that 53% of academics in the United Kingdom suffer from mental illness.
 

University Students Live off Betting.

Sineke Sibanda

Metso is a student at the National University of Science and Technology. He has three other siblings, one is starting her degree programme, the other just started her ‘A’ level at Empandeni boarding school and the last one is writing her form four examinations this year.

With much of his parents’ attention going to his three female siblings, he has to take care of himself. It has not been easy, and he has since resorted to, soccer betting, a form of gambling to subsidise his welfare.

Metso is among a host of other college students who have enrolled into this gambling circus to try and make ends meet as they strive towards completing their studies.

At a time when Zimbabwe is marred with high rates of unemployment, industries characterised with no activity, with only big rusty keys hanging on the falling gates; betting halls have become the new industries with regular patrons thronging these spaces from as early as 7am in the morning till 1030pm in the evenings daily.

Patson Nkomo, a security official at one of the betting halls in the city observes that some have become regulars at the shop, and only absent when they fall sick.

“Others are now informal employees here (laughs), they are here 24/7. With the issue of unemployment so high in Zimbabwe, this is where others make their living, including university students from,” said Nkomo.

According to Admire Mapani, a student at the Bulawayo Polytechnic, betting has become a way of life for most college students.

“There is so much peer pressure we go through at school,” said Mapani. “You meet people from different families and you are also faced with the challenge to survive at-least, so the little your parents send you, you spin some of it through betting with the hope of multiplying it.”

However, issues to do with addiction of this sort of gambling tends to haunt.

According to Metso, he finds it hard to pass by the shop without being tempted to bet.

“I think I’m becoming an addict. I find it hard to pass by the soccer shop without being tempted to bet. Sometimes I even use my lunch money. I know its bad but I can’t control it sometimes”

This sort of gambling has become a normal routine and to others a little bit addictive. For the lucky ones, they have managed to get the best out of the experiences and to the unlucky, lots of money has been lost to the betting shops.

Being a student too, I know how hard college life can be especially if you are far from home. It can be pretty tricky and because there are no grants or student stipends, anything that brings money could be ideal.

Over the years, we have heard of alarming rates of prostitution from college girls, selling of drugs by guys and now betting is the new trade. The most important pre –occupation is making money to be

Good as it may sound, obviously for the owners of the shops, my concern is largely on the development part of our countries.

Possibly this may not be a phenomenon only peculiar to Zimbabwe, I’m sure some countries may be experiencing this too. I stand to be corrected, does this kind of business in anyway promote the development of individuals? Or maybe I should be asking the economic value of betting.

With economic downturn and a lack disposable income, betting has become one of the last resorts among youths in Zimbabwe.

This trade has been around for a while, generally known as lotto/ lottery. A new form seems to have emerged, soccer bet.

Learned Vendor

‘I have siblings to look after, having certificates hanging around on the wall would not bring food on the table’

By Samantha Kuboni

Waking up early to catch that 5am taxi by the corner of 16th street, the seasons seem to have changed, the weather is not so friendly, It is freezing outside.
The Kombi is almost full and most of them are women, mostly older than me. We all journeyed to one destination, the market. I usually go there twice a week to get stuff(tomatoes, onions, cabbage etc) for my ‘msika’ (vending place).

This is the story of Sheron* who graduated at the University of Zimbabwe in 2013. Fresh out of Varsity opportunities seemed to be plenty. However, this has somehow become her reality. There are no jobs in the country, closure of companies (mostly in Bulawayo) & retrenchment has become the order of the day.
‘I have siblings to look after, having certificates hanging around on the wall would not bring food on the table’
Being from a child headed family , having worked hard through high school, she scored herself a scholarship which saw her getting into UZ. Things are not going well for Sheron* she does not know what the future holds for her but what she knows is that she just has to keep on moving.

Unlike other graduates who skip the country to look for opportunities,she can not afford. But like many other graduates she is still waiting to be called in any of the numerous companies where she dropped off her CVs.

She has become among many of the graduates who are doing what they did not go to college for, just to make ends meet. She only enjoyed Life as a graduate only when she was still studying, when she had not yet been introduced to the harsh and cold realities of life.

But then this is the country we have come to know…..

Value of Education in Zimbabwe

By Samantha Kuboni

Multitudes of students graduate in Zimbabwe every year. A number enough to have this exodus contributing in the Zimbabwean economy but alas the value of education seems to be questionable because of the lack of jobs at the end. Millions of monies are injected towards an education that does not give back after.

 Sweat proves to be not worthy for that woman by the corner who sells tomatoes so that she can afford her child the best education. This is so because 5 or 3 years down the line the child is still not employed but rather has joined their mother in vending. Continue reading Value of Education in Zimbabwe

Making it to college single handedly

by Samantha Kuboni

The journey set before her was not an easy one but surely one she was prepared to sail through, through thick and thin.

When she received her Advanced level grades she was trigger happy because they were remarkable. She had the second highest grades at school. She was ecstatic about it and she looked forward to the future.

Alone with no one on her side, she set her sight on being an independent woman, a super woman. Things were hard, even from afar one could see that she seemed like a person who was carrying the whole world on her shoulders. But she dared to be an exception and be different from the rest.

She sent application forms to various universities. Mind you, she had no idea where she will get the money to pay fees if she were to be accepted in any of the varsities. She decided to be clever, she sent out CVs from supermarkets to companies all around town. She did not have anything but she held on to hope and faith.

Temptations came in sprinting at a time where she was stranded but she did not barge. She believed she was going to hold her head up high one day when she had succeeded. She wrote in her diary;

” I  vow, no matter how tough the situation might be, I will never get money through taking my clothes off”

She set principles for herself and would not let anything stand in the way of her integrity and self-respect.

Minutes turned to hours and hours turned to days, days into months and still there was nothing from the companies she had applied to. Time was flying and schools were two months from opening meaning that money was needed fast. Also to note is that she had not received the letter of acceptance from any varsity, but she had faith.

To raise the money which was going to be needed soon enough, she partnered with her friend in the buying and selling of clothes. Going to Botswana and also South Africa. To find capital was a bit of a struggle but against all odds it all worked out. Nothing was going to stop her in trying to educate herself and to see herself through in life.

As they say, good things come to those who wait and work hard. One good news came in conceiving another. She got a job and also received a letter that she had been accepted at varsity. Throughout her years there she did well in her studies and held her head up high in the struggles she came across because from them, she derived her strength. All this is now just a reminder of how strong she has become because of the circumstances she has faced in her life.

Going to school does not mean one has to sell their body or do wrong things. I Do not mean to be judgmental but the truth of the matter is that people have made it in their lives through doing things that they will not regret later on in life.

Life is hard everyone knows that, but it does not mean that it has to be rosy all the time. Going through hardships to go to college is just a passing phase that most people go through. However when one looks behind after the accomplishment of a degree it becomes the motivator and a testimony that will help the next person.