As one in nearly three black South African women who are jobless, Sabatha Nyawo has pounded the streets of South Africa's financial capital Johannesburg for two years in search of work.
"Everyday I send applications to different companies to no avail," said the 32-year-old who graduated as a librarian five years ago but has never worked in her chosen profession.
The mother of two last worked as a supermarket cashier. As a black women she falls into a group that has an unemployment rate eight times that of white men.
Labour figures released Thursday from South Africa's central statistics arm showed a fractional dip overall in the unemployment rate by 0.4 percent to 23.1 percent in the second quarter of 2008.
But while the number of workers rose slightly, the indicators point to employment rates that remain racially skewed in favour of whites, the minority group who ruled apartheid South Africa until 1994.
While joblessness among white South Africans is just 4.6 percent, it affects 12.7 percent of Indians and 19.5 percent of mixed race or coloureds.
Twenty-seven percent, or more than one in four, of black South Africans aged between 15 and 64 years old are not working - a figure that goes up to nearly one in every three for black women.
Professor Vasu Reddy said this was not surprising and explained that the roots of the problem go back to the country's discriminatory past when policies were actually aimed at suppressing the black majority.
"Even though we're 14 years into democracy, we still have the historical legacy of economic imbalance whilst there is political power," said the expert from the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria.
Black women had the least access to economic and educational resources and the least skills to allow them entry into broad economic participation, Veddy added. continue reading