As protests in Zimbabwe continue, it has now become common to see young Zimbabweans wearing graduation gowns and hats staging their own protests over the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe.
The college and university graduates have taken to the streets and social media under the #thisgown movement questioning the ruling Zanu PF government’s promises of 2.2 million jobs during the run up to the 2013 national elections.
Some of these recent graduates are now vendors selling different goods to make ends meet.
One graduate is Samuel Wadzayi, who holds a masters in Human Resources Management and is director of the Vendor’s Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation. His organization is seeking to bring together unemployed graduates to create a platform covering a wide range of issues.
“It’s unfortunate that we attained these masters, these degrees but we cannot use them anywhere in our country because of the situation,” said Wadzayi.
Statistics show that more than 85 percent of the country’s population is unemployed though official figures are pegged at almost 11 percent.
And for graduates like Wadzayi the figure is too staggering.
“We expect the government to be responsible that is the first thing. You know, they promised to create 2.2 million jobs and were campaigning during the election campaigning period. It was part of the current government manifesto that they were going to create the 2.2 million jobs.”
The number of unemployed graduates with degrees is increasing in Zimbabwe as many companies continue to close shop due to economic hardships. Jobs have been decimated by company closures.
Recent graduate, Karen Nozipho Gumbo, told Studio 7 that after her undergraduate studies she wasn’t able to find work.
She said apart from the lack of jobs, companies told her she wasn’t bankable.
Gumbo is now back in school pursuing her master’s degree, hoping the pastures will become greener.
“When employers advertise on the media or whatever advertising tool they use, they’ll be talking about three years’ and four years’ experience. And I couldn’t get that experience. I tried doing internships and volunteering, but I couldn’t get any volunteering because companies were skeptical about taking a person that they could not pay,” said Gumbo.
Meanwhile, graduates in the #thisgown campaign said they will keep pressing government with protests but noted that even seeing young graduates selling wares on the streets should be telling enough for the state to address their concerns.