The Struggles of African Youth

The short film "The Struggles of African Youth”, adapted from "The Adventures of Noko Mashaba" web series, delves into the trials and tribulations faced by African youth, while casting a humorous light on the struggles of high unemployment. The narrative revolves around the comedic misadventures of Noko and his uncle Dons, highlighting the harsh realities of their financial situation while touching on supporting themes like corruption, substance abuse, gambling, and crime in a light-hearted manner.
The narrative takes flight as Noko's illiterate aunt, Matšatši, drops a bombshell revelation onto Noko and Dons—she's received a letter suggesting the impending loss of their home. Amidst blame-shifting, Matšatši steps in as the voice of reason, propelling them on a mission to salvage their residence. Noko and Dons embark on divergent paths, resolute in their pursuit of financial salvation.
Noko enlists the company of his friend, Sjava, leading to a montage of ventures like attempting to secure truck driving positions, only to confront systemic corruption. Their job-seeking endeavours are met with a resounding chorus of rejections, punctuated by implausible prerequisites in the rare cases they land interviews. Forced into a corner, they reluctantly embrace gambling, triggering skirmishes with peers. Meanwhile, Dons seizes a promising job opportunity in the UK, propelling him to embark on a journey in pursuit of a brighter future.
A poignant encounter with homeless drug addicts serves as a turning point for Noko and Sjava, catalysing their realization that they teeter on the edge of a similar fate. Fuelled by desperation, they flirt with criminality, leading to comically disastrous results. In a last-ditch effort, Noko and Sjava, having exhausted all options, turn to alcohol to numb their frustrations, leading to a fateful night where Noko, intoxicated, crashes a car into a house, a metaphorical collision of their struggles with the outside world.
Meanwhile, Dons' journey to the UK takes an unexpected turn when he discovers that gaining employment abroad would require giving up his grant cheques. This realization prompts a drastic action, as he symbolically leaps from the plane mid-flight. This moment serves as a powerful illustration of the entrenched complacency fuelled by grants, shedding light on broader societal dynamics and intergenerational perspectives.
In a jaw-dropping twist, it's revealed that the letter about mortgage payments was, in fact, intended for a neighbour, and Noko and Dons' financial worries were unnecessary. The film ends with Matšatši revealing the mix-up, leaving Noko and Dons in a state of bewildered astonishment.
The presence of supporting themes like corruption, substance abuse, gambling, and crime adds depth to the story by highlighting some of the challenges that contribute to the broader issue of unemployment. These themes are integrated in a way that maintains the overall light-hearted tone of the film while still acknowledging their presence in the characters' lives.
"The Struggles of African Youth" ultimately serves as a humorous, yet thought-provoking exploration of the struggles faced by African youth, using relatable characters and comedic situations to shed light on the complex and often daunting issue of high unemployment, as well as the interconnected challenges that accompany it.

  • Jonas Jonas Lekganyane
  • Ramahlape Jonas Lekganyane
  • Olivia Lopang Alamu
    Key Cast
  • Sibusiso Joey Cossa
    Key Cast
  • Sylvesta Matsimela Mphahlele
    Key Cast
  • Boiphelo Kamogelo Alamu
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Adventure, Comedy, Satire
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 5 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    South Africa
  • Country of Filming:
    South Africa
  • Language:
    Afrikaans, English, Southern Sotho, Zulu
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • YouTube
    Country: South Africa
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Jonas Jonas Lekganyane

Jonas Lekganyane is a visionary creator and filmmaker renowned for his exceptional contributions to the South African animation landscape. With an instinctive talent for storytelling and a sharp satirical perspective, his work transcends entertainment, shedding light on relevant socio-economic and political issues. As the mastermind behind the acclaimed animated web series 'The Adventures of Noko Mashaba,' and through his animation studio, Rams Comics, Jonas has not only amassed a massive following but has also secured multiple accolades, including the SAFTA for Best Online Content. His journey from a self-taught animator and screenwriter to an animation director embodies creativity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to pushing artistic boundaries. As the voice behind iconic characters like Noko Mashaba and Malome Dons, Jonas's impact extends beyond visuals. His work champions South African cultures and languages, inspiring youth to forge creative paths despite formal education constraints.

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Director Statement

In creating this film, I drew inspiration from my own reality, one deeply influenced by the circumstances of hailing from a nation burdened with the unenviable title of having the highest unemployment rate worldwide. It's a reality that has witnessed individuals who excelled academically, only to find themselves ensnared in the clutches of incarceration, not due to inherent criminal tendencies, but as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The far-reaching consequences of unemployment are stark and undeniable, demanding our unwavering attention.
With this project, my aim was to shine a spotlight on the urgent challenges tied to employment opportunities and the far-reaching ramifications they entail. Through the lens of storytelling, I sought to spark vital dialogues concerning the difficulties that countless job seekers—particularly the younger generation—are grappling with daily. The narrative serves as a vessel to reveal the profound struggles that are often hidden behind statistics, bringing them into sharp focus for audiences to contemplate.
It is my aspiration that this film, born from personal experience and a deep concern for societal well-being, will catalyse a ripple effect of change. By illuminating the multifaceted issues related to unemployment, I hope to encourage a collective response to these pressing concerns. My vision is for individuals from all walks of life to unite in a shared commitment to fostering positive transformations. Through candid conversations, concerted efforts, and collaborative action, we can navigate the complex terrain of unemployment and pave the way for a brighter future—one where the potential of every individual is nurtured and where circumstances no longer dictate destinies.