South Africa’s reality job fair

Show offers scholarships to training centers

JOHANNESBURG — South African net SABC2 is tapping into the country’s angst over its 40% unemployment rate with a career makeover reality series called “Tswellopele — Your License to Skill.”

The 13-part series, which bowed Oct. 13, is produced by Welela Studios for SABC Education, and offers scholarships through technical training centers around the country.

Series producer Diony Kempen says, “In July we put out a call to action to anyone who was unemployed, retrenched or unhappy with their current job, and we received a massive response.”

Each 30-minute episode features a candidate teaming up with a mentor from a technical college, and tracks the person’s background and progress.

Mining company XStrata funds a scholarship for one featured candidate, as well as for a selected viewer, each week in courses ranging from electronics and engineering to clothing production and woodworking and carpentry.

Masetha Serakoana, commissioning editor at SABC Education, says the multilingual show, which includes Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English, was about changing the lives of ordinary South Africans, and thereby empowering the country’s workforce.

“This show can really have an impact on people and help them realize their career dreams, not only those on the show, but those watching,” Serakoana says.