Fighting back without hate

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005

In 1975 everything was going well for a singer called Thandie Klaasen. She was climbing up the ladder quickly. She was making it.

Then suddenly her whole world fell apart. Some people threw petrol over her face – and lit a match.

Thandie Klaasen’s beautiful face was gone. She now had only terrible pain and a broken life. But she fought back. She started at the bottom of the ladder again.
Learn and Teach spoke to the brave Thandie Klaasen. She told us a bit about her life:

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005OUT OF TUNE
“When I first began to sing, I sang out of tune,” says Thandie. “I first sang in the school choir at St Cyprians in Sophiatown. I grew up in the old Sophiatown.

“A girl with a beautiful voice sang with us in the choir. She always stood next to me. When she sang, all eyes were on her.

“I wanted all the eyes to look at me. So I always sang louder – and more out of tune.”

The young Thandie thought about her problem. And then one day she began to ask herself some questions. Why must I try to sing like the girl with the beautiful voice? Why must I try to copy her voice? And Thandie soon had the answer. “I have my own voice,” she told herself. “Let me use my own voice!”

So Thandie Klaasen began to use her own voice. And the eyes began to look at her. She joined her first group when she was 18 years old. The group was called the ‘Gay Gay ties’.

“One day the group got a job in Durban,” says Thandie. “The leader of the group told me to go home and ask my parents if I could go to Durban. But I was scared to ask my parents. And I really wanted to go to Durban.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005“So I went to Durban – without asking my parents. We came back three weeks later. And my father wanted to kill me. I was in real trouble.

“Then I got an idea. I gave my father all the money I made in Durban,­ every penny. My father said something to himself. And he put the sjambok away.”

And on that day, Thandie Klaasen made up her mind. She was going to sing. And her father did not stop her.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005KING KONG
“Then King Kong happened,” says Thandie. “I got a small part in the show. We left for London on the 2nd February 1962. In London I shared a room with Abigail Kubheka. She was a good friend.

“The show was going well in London. Then the lead singer Peggy Pango got sick. I don’t think she was really sick. I think she was actinq. She thought the show was finished without her. But she was wrong. At the last minute they gave me Peggy’s part. That was my big chance and I was ready. King Kong was my big break.”

And so the show went on. Thandie was good and there were no problems. The show went to many places in Europe. “Before we came back we went to Rome,” says Thandie. “And we had a lovely holiday.”

In Rome I found a wishing fountain­ you throw coins into the fountain and make a wish. I wished for happiness for my family. And I wished for my singing to go far. I felt good at that wishing fountain in Rome.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005

ROAST BEEF AND DUMPLINGS
“When I came back to South Africa, I heard about a Mr Paljas in Cape Town. He wanted actors for his new play. So I went to Cape Town and Mr Paljas gave me the job. I was the only woman in the play. It was fun.”

Then Thandie got another big break. She got a job to sing in Japan. “I really wanted to go to Japan,” says Thandie. “I was already married with two little children. My husband said I must go. I then told my best friend about the job. And she told me to come for supper that night. She promised to make my best meal ­ roast beef and dumplings.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005

Thandie in hospital

“When I went to her place, I saw two boys at the gate. I greeted them and passed. I saw her sitting with her baby in the kitchen. Then I heard somebody behind me. And suddenly my face was on fire.

“She hired those two boys to throw petrol over me and set me alight. They were only 18 years old. She gave them R10 and a bottle of whisky for the job.

“I hurt when I think about that time. I don’t know why she did what she did. We had no arguments. Maybe she just didn’t want me to go to Japan.

“I stayed in hospital for over a year. Oh God, that was a terrible time. I don’t like to remember what happened to me. My husband left me. And most of my good friends forgot about me.

“But some people did not forget about me. My family helped me. The nurses and doctors were very nice. And a few old friends like Queeneth Ndaba stood by me. They gave a concert to pay for one of my skin operations.

“And of course, my fans were always there. They didn’t forget about me. They came to visit me. And they sent me letters. I got letters from far away places like Mozambique. And I always had flowers in my room.”

Thandie Klaasen had plenty of time to think in hospital. In the long nights,
she thought about her life. She thought about the girl with the beautiful voice in the school choir. She thought about her angry father with his sjambok. And she thought about the wishing fountain in Rome.

“I thought about those two boys for a long time,” says Thandie. “And after a while, I felt no hate. My face was burnt – but I still had my voice.

“And I also thought about my children. I knew they needed a mother – and I was their mother. I knew I had to fight back.”

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005THE FIGHT BACK
And so after a long, painful time, Thandie Klaasen got out of her hospital bed. She went back into the world with a different face. And she went straight back to the stage.

She got a job in a play called the Black Mikado. “My daughter Lorraine was also in the play,” says Thandie. “I remember that play with sadness. Some of the other actors gave me a hard time. When they turned their backs to the people, they laughed at me. They mocked my face. They mocked me in front of my daughter.”

Thandie suffered very much. But she did not leave the stage. In 1981 she went to sing in Lesotho. She met Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela when they gave a concert in Lesotho.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Thandie now sings mostly at night­ clubs. And her voice is beautiful ­ when she sings, all eyes look at her.

Thandie Klaasen is slowly climbing up the ladder again. But it’s not easy. “I sometimes have no work for a while,” says Thandie quietly.

Thandie Klaasen gets stronger every day. “You know, I often see those two boys who burnt my face,” says Thandie. “I don’t hate them. Hate makes you weak. Now when people hurt me, they only make me stronger!”.

Advertisements

Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach
I like the Learn and Teach magazine. I am a 21 year old woman. I left school in 1978. When I left the school, I was in standard four.
I left school because my parents died. Now I love to read your stories in English. When I read your magazine, I remember school.
Hilda Nomalanga Simelane
KENSINGTON

Dear Learn and Teach
I am an adult learner in Martindale, Johannesburg. Please forgive me ­but I want to be forward. I found a mistake in your magazine number 2 1983. On page 31 you asked us to make a sentence with these words:
Write to Teach. Workers many a Learn letter s.
I have tried all the ways but I can’t get the sentence right. I think the letter ‘a’ doesn’t belong in the sentence.
Susan Mnisi
TRIOMF

Thank you for your letter Susan. You are quite right. We did make a mistake. I’ve spoken to the man who makes up the English lesson. I showed him your letter. I’ve decided to give him one more chance -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I have a problem with my skin. I have a black patch on my nose. I think I got the black patch from skin lightening creams. I have tried some medicine but nothing helps. Please give me some advice.
Dorah Mudau
NZHELELE

Thank you for your letter Dorah. I’m very sorry to hear about your problem. Thousands of women in South Africa suffer because of these dangerous creams. I think you must go see a skin doctor (dermatologist) at your nearest hospital. But in the meantime, throw these rubbish creams away. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I enjoy reading your magazine very much. I’m from a poor family. I don’t have money for school fees. Can you please tell me how to get a bursary.
Weppies Sambo
BUSHBUCKR IDGE

Dear Weppies,
Thank you for your letter. Many readers ask us about bursaries. We will write a story about bursaries very soon. But in the meantime, you can write to an organization for help. The organization is called the Education Information Centre (EIC) The address is: E I C, 6th Floor, Dunwell House; 35 Jorrisen Street, Braamfontein. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
In 1975 I got a job with a lawyer. I left the job after three years. When I left he did not give me my U.I.F. card. He said he did not get one for me.
Then I got a job at a shop. The shop told me to go to the Labour Depart­ment. They said I must get my own card. So I went and filled in the forms. I sent the forms to Pretoria. But they never sent me a card.
Now I have worked at an insurance company for over two years. I still haven’t got a card. My boss did send the forms but we have heard nothing. What must I do? What happens if I don’t have a card?
Moses Pholoha
WELKOM

Thanks for your letter Moses. I’m sorry to hear about your problems with your blue card. You must make sure you get this card. If you don’t, you may never get U.I.F. money when you lose your job.
The law says your boss must ask for your blue card. All employers must get blue cards for their workers. Workers must make sure their bosses get their blue cards for them.
If you have problems, you can go to an organization for help. Go to the:
Industrial Aid Centre; 312 Trevor Building, Voortrekker Street, Vereeni­ ging, Tel: (016) 22 – 4743. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Please tell your readers about the Cape Town Trade Union Library. Five trade unions started the library. The unions want to help the workers learn about trade unions.
Books are so expensive today. Workers cannot afford to buy them. That is why the library has got these books about trade unions and workers’ problems. Any worker can join the Readers’ Club and use the library. There is a small fee. But if you are a trade union member, bring your membership card and you –will pay less.
The library has opened a reading room in Salt River. The address is 108C Malta House, Malta Road. The library is only five minutes walk from Salt River station. It is open every Satur­day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
R.G. Young
SALT RIVER

Dear Learn and Teach
I have read Learn and Teach. Now I have a friend to share my problems. I write stories. My first story is about a headmaster and the boy who ‘dodges’ school. I want to see my stories in books. Where can I send my stories?
Nelson Awaseb
ARANDIS, NAMIBIA

Thank you for your letter Nelson. You can send your stories to Ravan Press, P.O. Box 31134, Braamfontein; 2017. Or you can send your stories to: Skotaville Publishers, P.O. Box 32483; Braamfontein; 2017. We wish you good luck -editor

Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for your magazine. Can you please tell me more about learning groups.
Maria Mogangane
KENSINGTON

Thanks for the letter Maria. People learn to read and write in learning groups. If you want to join a learning group, find some friends who also want to join. Then find a friend who can read and write already. Then write to Learn and Teach. We will show your friend how to teach the group. We will bring books for the group. And we will visit the group often. Good Luck! -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you very much for your magazine. I liked the story about Don Mattera. The story shows that a tsotsi can change and get good manners again. Please write more interesting stories.
Samuel Luthuli
MOUNT FLETCHER

Dear Learn and Teach
I have only read one Learn and Teach magazine. And I really liked it. I have sent R2.50 for the next 10 magazines. Can I get the old magazines?
Amos Phethe
DUBE

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we do sell old magazines. Send us R2.50 and we will send you the last 10 magazines. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Your magazine is wonderful and I think everyone should read it. I have learnt many important things. I try to teach these things to other people. Thank you Learn and Teach.
Gaby Andrew
Natal Teachers Training College

Dear Learn and Teach
I really enjoy reading your book. I read your magazine every night. I’m sorry my English is not good enough. I want to study standard five. Yes, English is good but I talk Xhosa. I want to read Xhosa in the magazine.
Beauty Nonqaba Bhogwana
MDANTSANE

Thank you for your letter. We are thinking of starting a magazine in some black languages. What do other readers think? -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I live in Namibia. I like reading your magazine very much. But I don’t like anything without music. Do me a favour. Write stories about music in the magazine and make me happy.
John Kgositsele

Thanks for the letter, John. I hope you like the story on Mara Louw in this magazine. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I worked at a company at Elandsfontein for five and half years. When I left, they gave me my U.I.F. card. When I tried to get money, they wanted to arrest me. I thought my card was useless. So I burnt it. What is your advice. Must I get my card again?
Alfred Boloka
STEELPOORT

Thanks for your letter Alfred. I think you must try get another U.I.F. card again. After all, you paid money to the U.I.F. fund every month. Get another card. Go to the nearest Com­ missioner or Magistrate’s office. Or go to the Department of Manpower in Pretoria. The address is: Laboria Building, 310 Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I belong to a Christian Youth Club in Daveyton. We really want to help you people. Can we sell the magazine for you in Daveyton?
Sipho Mbele
DAVEYTON

Thank you for the letter. We want organiza­tions to sell the magazine for us. An organiza­tion must take at least 50 magazines. The organization can keep 10 cents for each magazine they sell.- -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I found out about your magazine a few days ago. Can I take pictures for the magazine?
Cyril Mliso
ORLANDO

Thanks for the letter Cyril. We want people to send us pictures. But we also want stories with the pictures. Think of some ideas. And write to us or phone us. Our telephone number is (011) 834-4011.

Dear Learn and Teach
My name is Bethwell. I want to tell you about my problem.
I have worked on a farm for 10 years. We start work at 6 o’clock in the morning. We finish at 6 o’clock in the evening. We work five and half days a week. The farmer pays me R25.45 a week. I am very good at my job. But my wages have stayed the same since 1973. I never get a bonus. Can you please give me some advice.
Bethwell N.
Elgin, Cape Province

Thanks for the letter Bethwell. The law does not look after farm workers. The law does not say how much money a farm worker must get. And the law does not say how long a farm worker must work. Farm workers must try to stand together. They must try to fight for a better life. Go and talk to African Food and Canning Workers Union. Maybe they can help you. They have a branch near you in Grabouw. The address is. Gerald Wright Memorial Hall, Pineview, Grabouw. (No telephone) -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I worked at a chemical factory. After I left the company, I got sick. The doctor said the chemicals made me sick. He said I can’t work for the rest of my life. What can I do?
Sidwell Mohale
SASOLBURG

I am sorry to hear about your problems Sidwell. You must go to an organization for help. Go to the Industrial Aid Centre; 312 Trevor Building, Voortrekker Street, Vereeniging. Tel; (016) 22 – 4743. – editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I’ve got some problems. I come from Witsies­ hoek. But I stay with my uncle in Tzaneen. I am in form three. Now my uncle says he can’t afford to keep me. So I must go and work. I will work and go back to school later. Can you tell me how to get a reference book?
S. Mohlakoane
TZANEEN

Go to the Black Sash. They will help you get a reference book. But you will have to travel far. The nearest Black Sash is in Pretoria. The address is: Presbyterian Church, 294 Schoeman Street, Pretoria. They are only open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

But try not to leave school. The new law does not let students over 21 stay at school. Try get a bursary. Write to the Education Information Centre. They will give you a list of bursaries. The address is, 6th Floor, Dunwell House, 35 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein, Tel: (011) 39 ­ 2476. -editor

Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach
I worked at a wool and textile factory for 25 years. One day the foreman told me to kick some workers. I refused and the factory fired me. They did not give me a testimonial letter. And when I tried to get U.I.F. money, the Department of Manpower sent me away. What can I do?
Abel Tshwala
Standerton

Thanks for the letter Abel. Please write to the Industrial Aid Society. They will try help you. Their address is: Industrial Aid Society, P.O. Box 261119 EXCOM, 2023 -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I found out about your magazine a few months ago. I like the magazine. Can I get a set of all the old magazines?
I am also a member of the United Women’s Organization (UWO). Can we sell your magazine? Once again, congratulations for the magazine.
A.H. Gagioano
Stellenbosch

Thank you for the letter. Yes, we do sell old magazines. We have printed 10 magazines so far. Send us R2.00 and we will send you a set of magazines. Or send us 20 cents for each magazine you want. Yes, we really do want organizations to sell the magazine. If organizations sell the magazine, the organizations get 10 cents for every magazine they sell. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I enjoy your magazine. I buy it every month.
I am worried about Sloppy’s lover Lizzie. Lizzie is too old for Sloppy. He must forget about Lizzie. He must take me instead of Lizzie.
Please ask Sloppy to send me his real photo and his address. I am a lonely doll. I am looking for a handsome guy with a long nose like Sloppy.
I don’t mind when Sloppy is funny. But he must leave that ugogo Lizzie. If he comes to visit me, I will kill all the dogs at home. I know he is scared of dogs. I will make Sloppy satisfied.
Joyce
Eshowe

We’ve got bad news for you Joyce. Read what happens to Sloppy this month. Hope the news doesn’t break your heart. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Can you please write stories on Hire Purchase (HP) and how to get a car licence. If you write these stories, you will make me very happy.
S. Ngoma Cala
Transkei

Thank you for the letter. We will try do these stories soon. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I read Learn and Teach No.4, 1982. I have seen nothing better in simple English. The stories are beautiful, moving and clearly written. All the photographs are excellent. Well done.
Dorothea Russell
Cape Town

Dear Learn and Teach
I passed standard five. Now I want to do standard six. Tell me where I can study?
Kiewiet Khoantle
Stilfontein.

Thanks for the letter. You can study at a correspondence college. You can find a list of colleges in the Yellow Pages telephone book. If you need money to study, you can try get a bursary. If you need a bursary, write to. The Bursary Officer, SAIRR, P.(). Box 97 JOHANNESBURG, 2000 -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for the story on Hugh Masekela. The whole family enjoyed reading about this great musician. And thank you for the list of worker organizations! Such a list can only help the workers in this country.
L. Maluleka
Pretoria

Dear Learn and Teach
I like your magazine very much. The magazine helps me a lot. I like the stories.
Simon Ntombela
Elandsfontein

Dear Learn and Teach
I have read Learn and Teach. Now I have found a friend to share my problems. I like the name of the magazine, ‘Learn and Teach’.
I write musical plays. I wish to publish them. My first play is called ‘Who is my Brother’.
I need advice. Where can I send these plays for publication?
Siza Masiza
Qumbu

Thanks for the letter Siza. Please write to FUBA. They can give you advice. Their address is: F U B A, P.O. Box 4202 JOHANNESBURG, 2000 -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I am a Learn and Teach reader. I just want to say this: Learn and Teach is a small book with great value. It gives me hope. God bless you children of Africa!
Albert Kheteng Arandis
Namibia

The new workers’ rights law

The government has made an important new law for workers. The new law is called the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The law started on the 1st June 1983.

This new law gives certain rights to shop workers, factory workers and office workers. This law also gives rights to hospital and other health workers, hotel workers, delivery workers, security guards and nightwatchmen. A boss cannot give these workers less than the new law says. He can only give them more.

The new law does not give any rights to farm workers and domestic workers. The government has still not given these workers any rights. And this new law does not talk about government workers. Government workers have certain rights under special laws. Learn and Teach will write about these laws later this year.

Many workers already have. rights under other laws. For example: Mine workers have some rights under a law called the Mines and Works Act. And many other workers already have rights under other laws called Industrial Council Agreements and Wage Determinations. But lawyers think all these workers can’t get less than the new law says. They can only get a better deal. And the new law gives workers rights they don’t have already under these other laws.

The new law does not make many changes for office, shop and factory workers. But there are some important changes. Shop and office workers can now work more overtime. 8efore shop workers could only work 30 hours overtime a year. And office workers could only work 100 hours overtime a year. Now all workers can work 10 hours overtime a week. And under the new law women can now work the same overtime as men. Is this a good or a bad thing?

And now when a boss fires a worker, he must say so in writing. A worker’s notice won’t start until the worker gets a letter. The new law also says children under 15 years of age cannot wprk. And for the first time, security guards and nightwatchmen have some rights.

The new law also says a boss can’t take money from a workers wages when the worker doesn’t do something at work – or when the boss doesn’t like something the worker does. And the boss can’t fire a worker if the worker joins a trade union. If the boss does fire the worker, the boss can get a fine up to R2 000. Or the boss can go to jail for two years. Or the boss can get fined and go to jail. Now read what else the law says:

46 hours a week

You must not work more than 46 hours a week. Lunch breaks and tea breaks are not counted in these 46 hours. They are not counted as working time.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you must not work more than 8 hours a day.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you must not work more than 8 hours a day.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you must not work more than 9 hours a day.

Casual Workers. A casual worker must not work more than 9){‘ hours a day. (A casual worker does not work more than 3 days a week.)
Guards and nightwatchmen: These workers must not work more than 60 hours a week. Meals are counted as working time. Shopworkers: Your boss can ask you to work an extra 15 minutes when you go for lunch or at closing time. He can ask you only when customers are in the shop. But he can’t make you work more than an hour extra altogether in one week.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Overtime

Maybe you sometimes work more than 46 hours a week. Then you are working overtime. You can’t work more than 10 hours overtime in a week. And you can’t work more than 3 hours overtime on a day.

Workers must agree to work overtime. Some workers agree to work overtime in their contracts. For other workers, the boss must ask them each time to work overtime.

You must get extra money for overtime. The overtime wage is your wage plus one third of your wage. For example: Mandla Xuma earns R 1.20 an hour. One third of R 1.20 is 40 cents. So his overtime wage is R 1.20 plus 40 cents. He must get R 1.60 an hour for overtime

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Sunday Pay

Maybe you work on a Sunday. Then you must get Sunday pay. Sunday pay works this way:

If you work less than 4 hours on a Sunday, you must get a whole day’s pay.
If you work more than 4 hours on a Sunday, you must get 2 day’s pay, or overtime pay and a day off in the next week. Your boss must pay you for this day off.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005

Shift work

Some places work all the time. For example: a power station works all the time. These places need workers all day and all night. These places work 7 days a week. They have 3 shifts a day. Each shift is 8 hours long. Workers at these places must not work more than 48 hours a week. Lunch breaks are counted as working time.

If these workers work on Sunday, they must get the same deal as all other workers. Look at the block on Sunday Pay.

Maternity

A pregnant woman must not go to work for the last 4 weeks before the baby is born. And she must not go to work 8 weeks after the baby is born.

A woman can get money when she takes time off for a baby. She gets this money from an ad­ ministration board or Commissioner’s court.

Public holidays

Shop and office workers must get all public holidays. They get 10 public holidays all together. Factory workers only get 6 public holidays. These holidays are:

New Year’s Day / Republic Day / Good Friday / Day of the Vow / Ascension Day / Christmas Day

(Office workers who work in factories get the same public holidays as factory workers.) Workers must get public holidays with full pay. If they work, they must get double wages.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Sick leave

When you are sick and can’t go to work, you must get paid. You get paid for sick leave.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you can take 12 days sick leave a year.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you can take 10 days sick leave a year.

These days are only for sickness. If you are not sick, you cannot take sick leave. Maybe you are sick for more days than your sick leave. Then your boss ·will not pay you for the extra days. You must get money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (U.I.F.).

Paid holiday

You must get a paid holiday after you have worked for one year. You must get two weeks paid holiday every year. (This 2 weeks means 10 working days.) Your paid holiday does not count sick leave or public holidays.

When you are sick and can’t go to work, you must get paid. You get paid for sick leave.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you can take 12 days sick leave a year.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you can take 10 days sick leave a year.

These days are only for sickness. If you are not sick, you cannot take sick leave. Maybe you are sick for more days than your sick leave. Then your boss ·will not pay you for the extra days. You must get money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (U.I.F.).

Some workers must get 3 weeks leave every year. (This 3 weeks means 15 working days). Nightwatchmen and some workers who sell things outside a shop or office must get 3 weeks leave.

Your boss must tell you when to go on leave. But after you have worked for a year, your boss cannot make you wait more than 4 months for leave.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Notice pay

If you are fired, your boss must give you notice. Your boss must give you a letter saying you are fired. Your notice won’t start until you get this letter. Notice works this way:

– you get paid every week? If you are fired, your boss must let you work for another week. Or he must give you an extra week’s pay.
– you get paid every month? If you are fired, your boss must let your work for 2 more weeks. Or he must give you an extra 2 weeks pay.

When you leave you must also get paid for any holidays you didn’t take. This is called leave pay.

Letters from our readers

Dear Learn and Teach
I passed Matric at the end of 1982. My plan is to become a printing machine operator. Please can you tell me the address of the schools or colleges where I can study printing?
Tembile Ntaba
BUTTERWORTH

Please write to: Education Information Centre (EICI, 601 Dunwell House, 35 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2001. – editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I am glad to write this letter to you. Please send me your booklet about Accidents and Sickness at Work. Can you send me something to help security guards. I am a security guard at an engineering firm in Benoni.
George Zwane
SPRINGS

Thanks for you letter. We like to hear from our readers. We have sent the booklet on Accidents and Sickness at Work to you in, the post. Please send us SOc for this booklet. There is a new law for workers. This law gives security guards some rights at work. Before security guards had no legal rights. Look at the poster in this magazine. You will see what your rights are. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Please do me a favour. I would like you to publish a picture of Peter Tosh.
Sammy Matlou
TEMBISA

Thanks for your letter. We will write a story about reggae music later this year. Then we will print a picture of Peter Tosh. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for your letter and the article in your magazine about mea1ie meal. Our company does add vitamins to our mealie meal. We find people do not like to buy mealie meal with vitamins. But we are trying to find ways of selling mealie meal with vitamins. We know that mealie meal with vitamins is very important.
Andy Creswell
Tongaat Foods Limited
JOHANNESBURG

Thanks for your letter. Only one other company has answered us. The two biggest companies, Premier Milling and Tiger Oats, don’t seem to care. They haven’t answered our letter. Anyway, we are glad you are thinking of ways to sell mealie meal with vitamins. But please think quickly – the health of the people is suffering in the meantime. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I really enjoy reading Learn and Teach. Keep it up! I read your article on mealie meal and pellagra. I saw that Premier Milling makes both ‘Iwisa’ and ‘Impala’ mealie meal. And they do not add the two important vitamins to their mealie meal. I see that Kaizer Chiefs often have ‘Iwisa’ on their jerseys. This means that Premier Milling gives money to Kaizer Chiefs. So Chiefs help this company to sell their ‘Iwisa’ mealie meal. I think we must win Kaizer Chiefs onto our side.
Khalil
ZEERUST

Thank you for your good idea. I’m sure Chiefs can help us in this struggle. They must care about the health of their fans. We will write them a letter. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I am teaching English to people in Mozambique. I have used one Learn and Teach magazine. I found it very useful. I understand that I can get old issues free of cost. If this is true I would like eight copies of each. If there is a cost please let me know.
D.S.
MAPUTO

We are glad that our magazine reaches you. We are happy to send you back­ copies of the magazine. But please send us some money. One set of back­ copies cost R2.50. So eight sets will cost R20.00 -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I often read your magazine. I liked your story about the dangers of liquor. I am a man who doesn’t even take a sip. But my young brother aged 18 is a boozer. He never cares about his future. Are there any books to help him with this problem?
Joseph
VENDA

Thanks for your letter and we are sorry to hear about your brother. We don’t have any books on the dangers of drinking. But you can write to: Alcoholics Anonymous Information Office P.O. Box 7228 JOHANNESBURG 2000, Tel: (011) 37 -7870.
They will send you the books you need. -editor

Dear Learn and Teach
I got a copy of Learn and Teach from a friend. I liked it very much. I am interested in the book on Unemployment and the Unemploy­ment Insurance Fund. Please send me one.
Margaret Vena
QUEENSTOWN

Hamburguers and the hardest race in the wind

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Sixty two years ago, some guys in Natal had a crazy idea. They decided to start a road race. But they wanted to make the race the hardest race in the world. So they found the biggest hills in the country and made the race 91 kilometres long. They called the race the Comrades Marathon.

Every year, people still run the race. And today, the race is still the hardest in the world. This race makes even the biggest rugby players cry!

So what kind of guy wins this kind of race? For the last three years, a small, gentle, friendly guy has won this race. His name is Bruce Fordyce.

In many ways Bruce Fordyce is like all the rest of us. He likes hamburgers. He likes reggae music. He likes a beer or two. And he likes a good party.

But when Bruce Fordyce runs, he is not like the rest of us. He runs like a true champion. He runs to win.

He was born in a far away place called Hong Kong 27 years ago. When he was very young, he moved from country to country with his parents. In 1969 his parents came back to South Africa. Bruce was 13 years old.

Bruce went to school in Johannesburg. He played some sport. He played a bit of foot­ball and rugby. He ran a bit. But he was no champion.

When Bruce finished school, he went to university. And for the next three years he played no sport at all. He studied a bit. And he sat around with his friends a lot.

Then one day Bruce went to play rugby match at his old school. He was not fit. After the game Bruce didn’t feel so good. He felt like he was going to die.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Bruce started to think. He decided that dying wasn’t such a good idea. Two weeks later, he saw the Comrades Marathon on television. He liked what he saw. “That’s it!” said Bruce to himself. “I’ve got to start somewhere!.”

So Bruce went for his first run. He ran around the block. But he didn’t get very far. He walked home – and he went straight to bed.

But Bruce did not give up. He ran everyday and he got stronger everyday. A year later, he ran in the Comrades Marathon. He ran very well. He came 43rd. Bruce felt good. Now he wanted to do better.

And he did do better. He came 14th in 1978, third in 1979, and second in 1980. “I never thought I could win the race until I came second,” says Bruce. “But after that race, I still felt so strong. I knew I could win. I suddenly began to believe in myself. I also learned something else. People can do things they don’t think they can do – and more.”

Bruce won the next three Comrades Marathons. And he ran these races in the fastest time ever. Nobody ever thought anybody could run the race so fast.

Bruce is not only a great runner. He also is a guy with lots of style. In 1981 the Com­rades people made the race a special race. They made the race part of the Republic Day celebrations. Bruce did not agree with this. He didn’t understand why anybody wanted to remember Republic Day.

They hated the black armband - but cheered when he won

They hated the black armband – but cheered when he won

Bruce wanted to show the world he was not happy. So he put on a black cloth around his arm .. Before the race, an old friend wanted to hit him. And when he ran, people threw tomatoes at him. They also insulted him.

But Bruce did not care. He ran like the wind. And he won the race in a record time. The people put their tomatoes away. They forgot about their insults. And they went home. What could they say?

Bruce is not scared to speak his mind. “Black and white people run together these days,” says Bruce. “But most black runners still have the same old problems. How can they train properly when they leave for work at 5 o’clock in the morning and come home at 8 o’clock at night?”

Those old guys in Natal must feel surprised. They never thought a guy like Bruce Fordyce would win their hardest race in the world. Just a small, gentle, friendly guy who believes in himself!