South Africa 2020

South Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution limited by lack of computer literacy, access

By Amy Sokolow
Medill Reports

Thabo Malatji, 29, commutes an hour from Alexandra, a township north of Johannesburg, to Tembisa, another township even farther north, every day for work. His office is inside a cluster of vibrant blue, green and orange converted shipping containers, which pop against their dusty surroundings. The neighborhood is dotted with trees and situated in a community of modest, tightly packed houses with tin roofs. Malatji works at the Tembisa location of the Youth Employment Services, or YES, on their marketing team, and is mostly in charge of their social media presence. He is guaranteed employment for at least the next couple weeks, since he has been working with them for almost a year as part of a career training program, where he also learns computer and business skills.

His real passion, though, is fashion. “I actually made this top that I’m wearing,” he said, pulling at the hem of its blue-and-white-striped fabric to show it off. It’s perfectly tailored to his thin frame. Malatji has been trying to get his fashion business, Solexxx Threads, off the ground through social media, but he can’t always get his work done because he can’t get online at home. “I just need the financial backing because what I use here is Wi-Fi, and when I’m out of the range, I don’t have internet access,” he said.

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South Africa’s sex education aims to reduce gender-based violence

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Growing up in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Asa Jali had a narrow outlook on relationships. “You learn that if your boyfriend hits you, that’s how they show you love. So if he doesn’t, he doesn’t love you. If there’s no violence, he doesn’t love you,” Jali, 23, said.

Her views are common throughout the country. Like most of her friends, Jali didn’t learn anything about sex, let alone consent, in high school. “You don’t know anything about your vagina as well, what satisfaction means and how to get an orgasm.”

Despite South Africa’s Life Orientation curriculum — a nationwide program for grades four through 12 that includes robust sex education — gender-based violence remains a nationwide issue in South Africa. The Department of Basic Education reported in 2019 that more than one in three girls is sexually assaulted before the age of 17.

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