My name is Pindokuhle M, born in a small town called Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of us in various ways through business operations, careers, academics, and social life.

I have recently graduated with Honours in Economics at the University of the Free State. The coronavirus pandemic has affected me in a way that it has become difficult for me to apply for jobs, as I cannot access the internet cafes to gain internet access anymore. Additionally, the unemployment rate in South Africa is currently at 29%. The economy has recently been downgraded by Moody’s to junk status, suggesting that most companies will be retrenching a number of their employees during this hazardous time. This is very alarming for me as a fresh graduate with no job experience, as I foresee a challenging stumbling block in trying to enter the labour market in this highly competitive industry.

I also assist my brother with administrative work in his law firm and we stay together. The clients that were supposed to pay on the 31st March 2020 couldn’t pay as a result of the shutdown. This forced us to borrow money from a loan shark in order to settle our rent and the interest they charge is 30%. That means the rent expense for the month; April is much higher than usual.

Furthermore, I was also supposed to attend my graduation ceremony on the 22nd of April 2020, but that was recently cancelled because of the shutdown. I had already paid for accommodation, which resulted in my deposit being forfeited. However, it was a bit of a relief as I am not really prepared financially for the ceremony celebrations. 

On a more positive note, I have used this time to practice all possible interview questions that the companies I have applied to might ask. I am also reading up a lot on Forex trading, which is a skill that I would like to practice as soon as things get back to normal.