AFTER graduating from the University of Johannesburg with a BCom in accounting, Arabile Gumede, accepted an internship at CNBC Africa. He rose swiftly through the ranks most recently becoming a permanent financial news anchor last year at eNCA at the age of 25.
He spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about his career and being employed as a young person.
What was your motivation for getting into financial journalism?
The important thing for me is to be able to actually give you the underlying story of how important your money really is, not just for yourself but to the South African consumer [as well].
Has it been something that you always wanted to pursue and for what reason?
I guess, a lot of it is because it’s not a huge segment in South African journalism. I really wasn’t even keen on journalism to begin with because I did a lot of accounting in varsity. I actually have an honours degree in accounting. A lot of it for me was being able to tell that story.
What challenges have you had to overcome while pursuing your career?
Well, I think there are still challenges every single day. [When] one is a young, black financial journalist, people look at you with a sense of “he’s too young to know certain things” or “he hasn’t reached that level of experience to understand certain elements”. That continues to be your stumbling block and you continue to take it and say “well, I’m going to grow from this and I’m going get to speak to people who will help me get to understand those concepts a whole lot better”.
Recently Stats SA released figures that 25,5% of youth are unemployed, 15% of these are black youth. Would you say this is a result of the quality of education South Africa has, specifically to disadvantaged black youth?
I’m 25 and that lifetime in itself doesn’t mean we have solved every single problem that has been faced in terms of creating jobs and creating an ability for a family to continue to create jobs. Understand that how a family creates jobs is being able to [in the Western context] take their kid to high school and varsity and that ultimately leading to an education, leading them to a job.
You are an exception to the statistics, how would you advise black youth to create a better future for themselves?
Nobody is going to do it for you. It starts off at a point where if you want to get to a certain place you are going to have to get there yourself. Nobody is going to give you favours, nobody is going to give you hand-outs, and if you do then you better grab those with all your might and all your strength and run with it. It gets really difficult and one thing for sure, what you get given, if you can produce that tenfold you are likely to succeed no matter what industry you are in. It’s about making what you feel is important to remain important.