OfW launched: Aug 2018 Members: 4270

Search and Employ our Conscientious Work-Seeking Members

Candidates at no charge to employers and recruiters. Run at no charge for and by the unemployed.

Common searches: Call centre Cleaner Handyman/woman Nanny Security guard

Search also by area, education, age, gender, languages, licences and skills

Grassroots Community Organising Around Unemployment

Launching a New Movement


A member induction, Langa branch, 4 Sep 2018

Launched on 13 August 2018, OfW uses grassroots community organising, campaigns and advocacy to alleviate unemployment. Our model is to organise communities in high unemployment areas to run their own branches that both support the unemployed in their search for work and endeavour to bring more work to the local area.

Our branches are open to the unemployed of ALL ages, educations, abilities and criminal records and act like free job centres to connect the unemployed directly to employers from where they live (always for free).


Harare (Khayeitsha) branch volunteers questioning their ward councillor, Anele Gabuza, about what he's doing to bring more work to the area, 12 Nov 2019

As a movement our goals are to increase the number of jobs in South Africa and the alleviation of the experience of being unemployed, including better treatment by employers and recruiters. South Africa has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world and yet the voices of the unemployed are very seldom heard in sites of planning like the Jobs Summit and Nedlac.

Read more

The Presidency's Response to our Movement

Our article in the Daily Maverick describing the 2020 State of Nation Address as having inadequate and underfunded ideas to combat the unemployment crisis received a response in the same publication from the private office of the President.

Working with Cape Town Together

We got behind the city-wide organising effort and five of our volunteers launched their area's community action network.

OfW played a role in formalising the partnering of neighbourhoods across the city, starting with Gugulethu and Sea Point. Read more in Pamela Silwana's piece on Daily Maverick.

Branches in High Unemployment Areas Run by Local Unemployed


Gugulethu branch volunteers helping the public, 4 Oct 2019

Our branches are all run by local unemployed volunteers. Members are encouraged to become more active job-seekers and to get involved in bringing more work to their local area. Read about our member tiers and incentives.

Wherever we open branches, we train local unemployed volunteers to staff them. Our aim is to organise community branches that are capacitated to find novel solutions in local conditions. At the same time, branches are supported centrally by sharing the experiences, successes and failures of other branches.

Because they are situated in City of Cape Town sites (predominantly libraries) and are volunteer run, branches operate at a next-to-zero monthly cost.

What Branches and Volunteers Do


Campaign planning session at Nyanga branch, 22 Jan 2020

Most members come to our branches because they are situated near their homes and because our tools can improve their chances of finding work. CVs they create on our website (with help from volunteers) are concise, well structured and have been honed by feedback from employers. Volunteers are trained to check member CVs and also to run our two main workshops: getting your CV to 100+ employers a week and dealing with hard interview situations.

Our branches are places where unemployed people can face the daily challenges of job-seeking together, making the search feel less solitary.


Watch our Gugulethu volunteer, Pamela Silwana (left), on The Gathering's unemployment panel with (left to right) Mbali Ntuli, Justice Dennis Davis (moderating) and Neil Coleman, 6 Mar 2020

We have also started to work towards organising informal workers in their area in order to increase the amount of work done in high unemployment areas. Organising informal workers can help

  • by representing the reputation of informal workers to the market
  • through discount collective buying of equipment and other inputs
  • with training and problem solving
  • with the provision or obtaining of credit
  • by working with local and national government to improve sites of trading, working conditions and to obtain other support

What are the 41 million working age (15-64) doing?

In employment 16.7m (41% of working age)
Not in employment 24.4m (59% of working age)
Needing work 20m (49% of working age)
Unemployment (expanded) 12.1m (42% of workforce including discouraged)
Youth unemployment (expanded) 2.5m (70% of 15-24s in workforce)

Around the World

Country Unemployed (strict) Employed of Ages 15-64
S Africa 33% 41%
Brazil 14% 54%
Belgium 6% 64%
Germany 4% 77%
India 6% 56%
Thailand 1% 72%
Tunisia 16% 44%
World 6% 65%
(World Bank and International Labour Organisation various periods, Stats SA QLFS24Q1)

 

Who Runs Organising for Work?

Our Many Volunteers

OfW is run first and foremost by its many unemployed volunteers who are trained to run the branches that are within walking distance of where they live.

Staff of Organising for Work

Amila Somchiza, Organiser & Director

Co-founder of Progress Party, active community volunteer, auxiliary social worker, administrator and call centre agent.

Elethu Nkala

 

Pamela Silwana, Organiser & Director

Community organiser with vast experience in civil society and in building the Rise Mzansi movement and party.

Suzanne Solomon, Organiser & Director

Civil society veteran with experience across a broad range of areas from strengthening organisations, autism support, muscular dystrophy and mental health.

Yedwa Makasi, Organiser & Director

 

 

Past Governance of OfW

OfW was founded in 2018 by Ayal Belling in collaboration with Luke Jordan and was incorporated as a nonprofit in May 2019. Keren Ben Zeev joined Belling and Jordan at incorporation as a director of OfW. In September 2020, Pamela Silwana, a volunteer at our Gugulethu branch, replaced Jordan as a director. Ben Zeev served as director until June 2022 when she was replaced by Suzanne Solomons. In April 2024, Belling resigned as director and Somchiza, Makasi and Nkala were appointed.

The board centralises and helps coordinate the branches and advocacy.

Solomons is serving, and previously Belling, Ben Zeev and Jordan have served, pro bono. The movement has been funded from inception until January 2020 by Belling in his personal capacity. Small donations have been received from individuals since along with larger support from the DG Murray Trust and from Open Society Foundation South Africa.