Skip to content

The Home of Africa’s Adult Education Community

Back to magazine

Unemployment and the Impact on Breadwinners

12 septembre 2023 | Yolanda Joe Anderson-de Monk | Popular Education Network (PEN) FORMATION PROFESSIONNELLE

Afrique du Sud

Yolanda Anderson de Monk autobiography
Yolanda Joe Anderson-de Monk tells her story
I'm a mother of three, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of one. I've been unemployed since March 2008 and it had a severe impact on my family, because I was the breadwinner.

I became an unemployed statistic of South Africa. It's September 2023 and I'm still part of the current 32.6% of people who are unemployed, according to Statistics South Africa. The impact on some breadwinners is severe, especially when they didn't receive any benefits like a retrenchment package, or a pension fund, or unemployment insurance (UIF) payments because they were on a stipend like me.

After I became unemployed, standing in feeding kitchen lines became the norm. People would apply for employment yet your qualifications, age, would be a problem. As a breadwinner, a person become depressed, despondent, thinking how to take care of the family. Unemployed people do every odd job possible to earn an income and even resort to doing recycling, just to take care of the family. There are some that even become suicidal due to family pressure and they may mentally break down. Their physical health is also affected.

Unemployed people want to work and, at present, government programmes are not all inclusive. Take the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) for example. A person would always see the same people being employed, though many both youth and adults applied. Why, does the same people get employment with the EPWP? Yes, skills are created yet everyone needs to get an equal opportunity to grow and provide for their families. Entrepreneurship are also good, but government should at least provide start-up capital for those unemployed people interested in working.

Every unemployed breadwinner and other unemployed person isn't the same after losing their job because they and their families are still struggling today. The marginalised communities bear the brunt and feel the impact of being unemployed the most.