“My journey through unemployment in South Africa” by Cameron Cupido

Since a young age, my passion has always been to draw, paint, illustrate and design things. This passion carried on well into my childhood, which is why I decided to pursue it as a career.

However, I have always realized that it would be difficult to pursue a career in the Arts in South Africa, but instead of being discouraged, I strived to get an education and work persistently towards materialising my passion as a creative.

Growing up in Manenberg on the Cape Flats, I was determined to break free from the marginalized and heterogeneous identity known as Cape coloured and all the stereotypes associated with it.

So, by doing well in school, I’ve earned a full academic scholarship to St Cyprian’s High in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. After which I received various bursaries to complete my Undergraduate Degree in Visual Communication Design, followed by an Honours Degree and then finally obtaining my Master’s Degree in Visual Studies at Stellenbosch University.

However, there has been many negative critiques in my aim to inspire the youth who have come from similar areas and situations like mine, where resources are scarce, violence is a norm and where many are surrounded with feelings of hopelessness or have simply given up on life.

As part of my journey I became aware of the programmes at NewDay United that operate in Tambo Village in Manenberg.  I joined  the Work 4 A Living Job readiness program and as I was sitting there on the first day I felt no hope as I had been unemployed for three years and couldn’t think of how this programme would even benefit me. Within days I started feeling the hope and fire ignite within me. My mindset and thinking was hugely challenged as I learnt new skills in job hunting and interview skills. I realised that I needed to think outside the box to be noticed by potential employers.

My strategy was to have my story told in a local newspaper. Within a few days I was employed at a top advertising agency with full benefits and an amazing salary. I am so grateful to NewDay United who inputted into my life for those 12 days and helped my to have hope and have my life changed around

Without hard work, perseverance, and willingness to go the extra mile, I would not have been graced with the wonderful employment opportunity that I am currently in. More importantly, as I start this new journey, I am thankful to all for the support and to all who never stopped believing in me.