I don’t know you and the details of your situation, or the IT landscape in South Africa, so take my advice with a grain of salt, it’s coming from someone in a rather comfortable position. I had and have no pressure when I was picking up Erlang, neither financially nor in terms of age. I could pick my pace, and didn’t have to mind too much if anything came out of it in the end or not.
By all means!
All the more reason to stick to it, that’s a good reason on its own!
I wouldn’t let that discourage me up front. They all say that and put it in the job ads, but reality is, Erlang developers don’t grow on trees, and the ones there are are mostly already in employment at some other companies. If you can demonstrate skills, they often relax on the degree requirement.
So my advice would be, learn Erlang, get comfortable with it, find one or two projects to contribute to and get good at it, maybe start a project of your own, so that in the end you have something to show on your resume.
However, don’t concentrate on Erlang alone, you won’t be much use if all you have is a head crammed full with Erlang and nothing else. Companies don’t want Erlang programmers for Erlangs sake, they want programmers that do whatever their thing is by means of Erlang, if you know what I mean.
This, of course, all depends on how much time and effort you can actually invest. If you currently have a job and learn Erlang (or whatever) on the side, ie if you can sustain your journey towards Erlang financially, then do it. If OTOH you have only limited time, a deadline if you want, after which you have to have a new skill to keep going at all, then IMO Erlang is probably, and sadly, not the best choice for you. It takes time and can’t be rushed, that is my experience at least.