Designing a better life

NABEELAH MOHEDEEN

The youth unemployment statistics are grim… and even more so for young people growing up in impoverished areas such as the Cape Flats.

According to Statistics South Africa, there are about 1.3 million youths aged between 15 and 34 years old living in Cape Town, with an almost even split between men and women. Of these youth, about 264 000 are unemployed, 134 000 of them being young women.

Every year children on the Cape Flats drop out of school and many of them remain unemployed, becoming easy targets for gangsterism and crime.

But Munsoor Boltman, 27, who grew up in Bonteheuwel with his grandparents, mother and two sisters, was determined not to become another statistic.

And rather than becoming a victim of his circumstance, he used it to drive his determination to focus on his education and dreams of one day becoming a graphic designer.

Growing up in Bonteheuwel, he said, was not easy, with violence, unemployment and gangsterism plaguing the area.

“There has been quite is a lot of violence in the area recently. The potential and opportunities are decreasing quite rapidly ,” he told Athlone News.

“A lot of people don’t see the opportunities anymore so they back track until they do nothing.”

After graduating from the College of Cape Town with a diploma in graphic design in 2009, Mr Boltman was employed at Woolworths in the graphics department but was retrenched later that year as businesses felt the impact of the economic recession.

He remained unemployed for five years after that, using various websites to hunt for work, but never receiving a positive response from the companies he applied to.

“All the websites I used did not offer me space to upload examples of my work . I wanted the world to see my work, my potential and my work experience,” he said.

So, on April 8 last year, he launched his his own employment portal, which is called Myjobshop.net, where people looking for a employment can upload their CVs and create a profile for themselves to show employers who are recruiting, what they are capable of.

“I want people to see their potential and the opportunities there are and utilise it and get out of their situation.

“The world works with talent and ambition. That is the reason I started a website – so that people can start exposing themselves.”

“I use Gumtree to advertise my website. There are even people in the United States and United Kingdom as well as Germany who are using the website now. This morning when I checked there were 120 000 hits alone,” said Mr Boltman.

And when he is not helping link up the unemployed with suitable employers, Mr Boltman works at Capitec’s call centre, using the money he makes there to fund his website.

He believes that his success is owed to his mother and grandmother who raised him and supported him throughout his life, and is he is completely overwhelmed with happiness that his 72-year-old grandmother is still alive to see him succeeding.

His advice to the youth who are looking for jobs is to persevere and remain positive because success doesn’t always come easily – or quickly.

“Stay hungry because that hunger is going to make you eat bigger food (and) bigger food makes you happy. But the youth must persevere because success is not instant, they must list all their talents on the website and not settle for anything less than they deserve.”