Back to good ‘ol tuna

9 04 2008

By Danielle Brock (dangirl)


So, I just got off the phone with my mother after one of those ‘so what’s happening in your life’ conversations. Nothing new. But then that question popped up: ‘You’ve got your degree at the end of this year, what are you going to do next year?’ Woah! Wait a sec. I’m comfy in this little bubble they called Rhodes student life, I don’t want to have to think about stuff like that! However, I do.

The last three years here seemed to have frozen time. Yes, I am now three years older but I don’t really feel that I’m now an adult ready for the big ocean. I’m still the sponge at the bottom of the sea, absorbing any information and knowledge provided to me. I would have no idea what to do if I encountered a shark or which anemone I could safely house myself in. Now, there’s always the option of staying here, becoming a Gtown local and, as my dad likes to call it, ‘professional student’. But that’s not my plan, I need to get out of here, but where do I begin?

You see, we’ve all been in this position before, I don’t know what the fuss is about. Going to ‘big’ school, then on to high school and finally university we all experience that transition from big fish to little fish but moving into the working world, I think, is very different. Now you’re just a tuna fish. One of millions. Ordinary. And perhaps good with mayo. You spend your matric year slaving over exams to achieve marks that won’t even be looked at by future employers, and the same goes for university marks. All they wish to see is your race and gender and, if they’re really desperate, your degree. It’s sad really. And to think all these years of hard work and money to be told ‘sorry, you’re not previously disadvantaged, we don’t want you’. It is this factor that worries me a bit. Call me proudly South African if you wish but I have hope in this country, even if we can’t see it (ha ha), but I too will become a part of the brain drain just to secure a job position. Or will I? I’ve watched friend after friend, of all ages, scuttle off to the UK to do the usual two year stint. Earn pounds waitering, spend it at the pub and clubbing, then head back to SA broke and looking for a job. So, back to square one.

Still, I’m left pondering, where to next? Ever since I was a little girl I used to make plans for my future and by the time i’m ‘big’ I hope to have squeezed all these dreams in. But for now, I’ll stick to complaining about essays and tests because life is easier that way, believe it or not.

university stresstuna




3 responses

10 04 2008
Nqobile (UKZN)

I might not be familiar with your encounters about being a young white South African and worrying about securing a job without being reminded of your ancestors past mistakes, skin colour and not qualifying for BEE loaded jobs (of which i think is a really big problem in this country that should be looked at-asap), however being a new graduate myself, i find common ground in terms of not knowing what the world has in store for me and what i actually have to offer. Fair enough, we have hit the books- 3 years which now seem like a speck of dust in relation to life as a whole, but what is more frightening for me is how on earth am i going to prove myself to those big giants out there. Like you say, we are tiny fishes in a world of whales- no, make that sharks (they are a bit fiercer). And it’s going to take more than a degree certificate or good grades. Yet the question is, what does the world really want from us? Well, now that you have discovered one of the prerequisites i.e ‘skincolour’, but what’s next on the list? Some graduates have been at home for a while -2 years for my brother with a Bcom Finance and Economics with good grades but is still unemployed. We endure numerous intimidating interviews but for what- a lost course as there are no jobs. You, I or any of those students affected might not know where we are heading, but looking at the state of employment in our country, I know for certain that it will not be a fairytale ending for some of us, and that’s just depressing.
check out our futurejournalist blogsite at (it is a rhodes initiative)

10 04 2008

“All they wish to see is your race and gender…” what does this mean. Is it another attack on the Affirmative Action. Anyway my real point is that (I hope it’s not out of topic), I’m sick and tired of white graduates leaving the country claiming that they are not wanted here. That’s really not the case. They just leave because they want to earn pounds and not worrying about bumping into a streek kid after every 2 minutes. Those who want to leave the country should just leave and stop making false excuses. We can still pretend as if discrimination is no longer there, Im telling you it’s live and kicking. Have you ever been in a tutorial group being different from you colleagues (race or gender wise). If you haven’t been in that situation, regard your self as lucky. In my third year at university I was in a group with white girls. They always consulted with each other and then they will come to me telling me what to do. It was bad. In a group meeting, they would talk about their boyfriends and everything that I’m not interested in so that I would feel like an outsider.
My downfall was that I didn’t approach them (thinking that a white person never go wrong). But today two of them are reporting to me in the workplace–I’m their BOSS. I keep on reminding them and they act as if they were unaware. Thanks For reading–it’s up to you to take this as garbage and pretend as if white people like blacks (there are of course few exceptions).
My apologies for my broken English, I’m not an English man

11 04 2008

Although my rant may have come across as an Affirmative Action attack, that was not it’s intent. It’s simply the realisation that after 12 years of schooling and 4 years of university I could have as much luck in the working world as our local begger. It’s the fact that no matter if a doctor graduates with 95% or 50% they may still perform brain surgery. It’s the fact that nothing can prepare you for the real world, ever. Not even your parents’ advice. And it’s scary. Back to Affirmative Action, hey man I’m all for it but NOT if I’m turned down for someone who’s gone through school getting straight A’s in bullying or barely passing matric. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Congrats to you on becoming the boss, clearly you deserved it! But please take note, there are many ‘whites’ who like ‘blacks’ without pretending and nothing anyone has to say is garbage… that is the point of freedom of speech. Keep reading and posting!

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