Celebrating our youth this Youth Month

My name is Wisdom Themba, and my path to where I am now did not begin as expected.

Back in Matric, I had no clue what I wanted to study, and having a gap year was never in the cards. Fortunately, I did not take a gap year; instead, I had a 9 to 5 job and studied computer science online every evening.

My dedication and persistence led me along a promising path at work; branch and regional managers saw and liked me; they gave me a number of opportunities all at once; then the pandemic struck just as I was ready to sign my first permanent contract. I had great expectations that we’d be back in three weeks. The Corona Virus Pandemic took its toll on me: I lost my job, failed my modules, and the friends I thought I had were no longer visible; I became depressed and anxious.

During the lockdown, I applied for a number of jobs, but only one returned a positive response; Afrika Tikkun Services.  I knew nothing about Afrika Tikkun Services and had no idea what the employment included. The lockdown limitations were gradually loosened, and I began attending the Work Readiness Programme at Afrika Tikkun. During my first few days, I thought it to be a waste of my time, and all I wanted was money. Instead, I acquired something far more precious than money: knowledge, thanks to the leadership of my facilitators Akhona and Sendra. I’m pleased I stayed, though I didn’t have much of a choice.

Interactions with people in my cohort lifted my spirits and filled me with light and optimism. I believed I was through with Afrika Tikkun Services when I graduated, but I wasn’t. Growing up, I was the Head Boy and Vice President of my high school, and my character managed to shine out again when I was elected to be the Alumni President of Uthando Centre. Despite the fact that I was still unemployed, I had to head a committee of 9 other committee members, and because of the shift in perspective, I decided to attempt again in my academics, so I enrolled with the Boston City Campus to pursue a Diploma in Systems Development.

With little expectation, I was recently asked for an interview at Afrika Tikkun. I found myself signing a contract, and I got the job!

I didn’t realize being an Afrika Tikkun Alumni was such a big deal. You have a choice whether or not to make it a big deal by influencing individuals around you, in the community, and at the many centre’s you may be in, and the world will make you a bigger deal.

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