Besides joining a decent company which actually works on new tech & challenging things, assuming you at it.. figure out who is good and a hangout with them. Simple as that.. opportunity generally follows which may not be with the group either but exposure leads elsewhere.
An alternative, if you can’t get it via work, is to join as-hoc groups (pre covid professional group meetups started taking off) which give exposure and access to professionals in your sphere. Basically networking while exposing self to new experiences .. in IT this can also be augmented with random open source projects in a skill you want exposure to.
In the past, decade or more, the opportunity to do this was squandered by jobs & access to higher education which in SA also correlated to hiring practice.. but lately things have flipped quite a bit but still limited by ability to find time & fund lifestyle. Not easiest thing to do on the finance end if you not working or living with parents (if unemployed student) and have tools required. On the time end, you limited by predictability of day job.
If you want to know why SA is screwed.. it’s not entirely due to politics but that most people’s end goal is to gain enough funding and experience to leave.. not to stay. In part this is result of economy stagnation but also that after years of companies acting as gate keepers.. it’s now flipped where anyone decent goes “why would I want to be in in SA?”
1st prize: your current employment offers good growth potential and there are regular opportunities for growth.
2nd prize: if no opportunities happen within a reasonable amount of time, then getting another job is the only way. This opens new opportunities for anyone below you.
Pictured below is a rare photograph of developers lining up when a team lead jumps ship.
Personal experience here: you also have to put your hand up and tell management that you want an opportunity if one presents itself.