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Crisis for unemployed graduates in Kenya

By Julius Makokha | April 29th 2020

Sometimes heartache pains more when it is coupled with depression and the quarter-life crisis; you graduated from university with honors and brimming with hope for a better future. You dreamed of being a political journalist and wax narratives that will influence the mosaic of world politics positively. You wanted to interview opinion-makers, and people tasked to make policies, you dreamed of the questions you will ask them and how to put them to the task to legislate policies for the common good of the common man.

Your mum cried with joy when she saw you in those flowing graduation gowns, she is an unemployed single mother, earning a pity. Still, mothers are supernatural beings; they should be added in Marvel comic books next to the Incredible Hulk. She did everything to ensure that her son went to university, she solicited loans from Kenya Women Finance Trust and other plethora of financial institutions. She hassled for menial jobs and sold anything she owned and worked as a community volunteer in local hospitals, earning a stipend of Sh2000, but the Sh2000 fed your siblings and took all of you to school. I told you Mothers are superheroes. Hulk cannot even hold a candle to them, what is Infinity War contrasted with the regular vim and zeal of a group of single mothers willing to take their children to school?

Fast –forward three years later, after your graduation, you are deep in poverty and struggling to borrow from loan apps to survive as you shuttle from offices to offices asking for any employment. Anything even being a messenger, you cannot afford to cherry-pick and insist on chasing a career in the Media Industry. What happened to the fresh graduates with ambitions to write political stories that will instigate shape-shifting in the manner in which we conduct politics and legislate policies? Life or better still a lot happened, reality hit you like a ton of bricks that without godfathers to connect you to employers you are doomed to depression and mobile loan apps.

You are past 25 years, saddled with a degree that is now almost useless, and the sight of that degree fills you with wonder. You attempt to do business, but you realize even painfully that the government has put in place a mechanism also to frustrate you further. To manage and/or mitigate your stress every evening after a day of tarmacking, you gravitate towards smoking bhang or cheap stiff alcohol sold in sachets imported from Uganda. Kenya is doing brisk business with the government of Museveni.

The cost of living in Nairobi is astronomical unless you are in the fake money printing business; you are on the cusp of being a suicide statistic.

You are ashamed of yourself; you see yourself as a total failure. You are a man; you don't share your frustrations. You drown your frustrations in hard drugs. You are afraid even to call your mother, who is struggling with poverty back in the village. The pressure of social media is killing you slowly, like cancer. Your peers post pictures of themselves vacationing while you cannot even feed your mother and siblings. In despair and rage, you delete your Instagram and Twitter accounts, but you have already seen the glamorous life of politician's children, and you cannot unsee it.

Your phone rings, you open the message, it's from your mum asking what CRB is. You sigh with sadness and hurl your phone against the wall and scream. Finally, overwhelmed with frustrations and sadness, you break down and cry bitterly.

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