traffic joburg sign

Many South Africans struggle to find work, sometimes taking to the streets as a last resort, but for one man – Jacob Tsotetsi – this option was merely a stepping stone to starting his career.


Jacob refused to become a statistic in an environment where the unemployment rate in South Africa was pegged at 27.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016, according to Trading Economics.

Jacob was raised in Winterveld, Mabopane in a family of six and followed many avenues to fund his academic career. Enrolling in Pretoria West College in 2006, Jacob completed his NQF level courses in electrical engineering while working part-time in various jobs, gaining experience and knowledge.

After numerous declined job applications following his studies, Jacob was determined not to give up and walked for five hours daily to stand at a traffic light in Midrand with an enlarged version of his CV, adamant to stand out from the rest and be seen by a potential employer.

Jacob was spotted by an employee at Saab Grintek Defence (SGD), a local defence and security company.

He was given the opportunity to join SGD’s unemployment learnership programme, which described as “the best gift God can give me”.

The programme was developed in 2015 to aid prospective skilled workers with both theoretical and practical knowledge, promoting a strong talent transfer from SGD.

“I would sometimes have people humiliate me, assuming I’m a street beggar asking for money, but all I wanted was a job. My advice to other people looking for jobs is to not give up. Things do not come easy, but you have to weather the storm,” says Jacob.

Jacob is currently enrolled in the SGD learnership program with, aspiring to join the defence company on a permanent basis.

Jacob Tsotetsi stands at a Midrand traffic light hoping to find a job

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Sources: Tribeca | Trading Economics

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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