READ THIS STORY
A MEETING IN FORDSBURG
There is a little church in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, where people come to learn. They come in the evenings during the week.
These people are domestic workers. They work in the houses in Mayfair and Fordsburg and at night they come to school to read.
They told their teachers that they wanted to know about SADWA and COSATU. SADWA is the South African Domestic Workers’ Association and Cosatu is the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
An organiser from SADWA came to visit the people in Fordsburg. She talked about the many problems that domestic workers have.
“Domestic workers work long hours and they get very little money,” she said. “But there are no laws to help them. All domestic workers can do, is to come together and fight for what they want.”
“We, at SADWA, ask people to pay us R6,00 a year. We need this money for envelopes, paper and telephones. We must also pay the people who work at SADWA.”
One of the learners, Thandi, had a question. She paid R6,00 every year for five years. If she stopped working now, would SADWA help her to get her pension or her long service pay?
Another learner, Mampho, answered Thandi. Mampho said, “SADWA is not the people in the office in town. SADWA is the workers who belong to SADWA. SADWA is the people right here in the hall. If SADWA does nothing,” Mampho said, “then we only have ourselves to blame.”
Then Naomi stood up to speak. Naomi said she likes unions. She said unions are ‘Mmabatho’ — the mother of the people. But she likes unions for domestic workers the best. Domestic workers suffer the most. Naomi said the answer to their problems was unity.
“Everyone in South Africa is joining the unions,” Naomi said. “Even miners are joining unions. Domestic workers are just like miners who work with picks and shovels. If the miners can strike, then domestic workers in the kitchens can also strike.”
After Naomi spoke, everyone wanted to join SADWA. The organiser did not have enough forms for all the people who wanted to join
1. organiser: someone who helps people to join trade unions.
2. to blame: to say someone is wrong.
3. unity: when people stand together.
4. shovel: something that you use to dig.
5. strike: when you stop work because you want your boss to listen to
Can you use these words in the spaces below?
1. Miners dig with_______________________________when they work.
2. ________________________makes people strong in their struggles.
3. Workers_________________________when they are unhappy at work.
4. The______________________told the people that her trade union will
help them with their problems at work.
5. Mampho said workers are to___________________ if their unions are weak.
UNDERSTANDING THE STORY
Can you answer these questions?
1. Where was the meeting?
2. Who spoke at the meeting?
3. How does SADWA spend their money?
4. Who makes SADWA strong?
5. Which unions are the best for Naomi?
WHAT IS THE WORD FOR….?
1. the place where people pray__________
2. the thing that keeps you dry from the rain
3. the thing that you sit on_____________
4. things that cover the window at night
5. clothes men wear on their chests___
6. a car you pay to travel in___________
7. a small animal that eats mice
8. the biggest animal in the world
9. the continent we live on_____
10. the biggest city in South Africa
11. the mine where 177 miners died
12. a baby cow________________
13. what people grow in their fields
14. what you walk on___________
15. smoke that makes your eyes and throat sore
Dear Learn and Teach
I read the letter from Phuthiatsana of Witsieshoek who asked for Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial. I am also interested in it and want you to send me a copy of the full speech. Secondly, we have a big problem with our new organisation, the Eastern Transvaal Youth Congress. We started this organisation in September 1985. There is no progress because we have no experience. We know there is a need for people to come together to fight for their rights, but we do not know how to help people do this. We do not have more fifty members.
Thank you for your letter, Comrade. We are sending you the longer version of Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial. We have passed your letter on to the United Democratic Front and the Soweto Students Congress. We hope they will be able to give you some help. Things are difficult for all community and political organisations at the moment. Maybe with some help from youth congresses and community organisations in other parts of the country, you will progress. Even with 50 members, you can do a lot. Any reader who want to help the ETYC can send their letters to Learn and Teach and we will pass them on.
Dear Learn and Teach
Thank you for your magazine. Number 6 was very special to me because you wrote about my country, Namibia. Also, Mr Mandela’s speech was very important to me because we do not hear much about the ANC and its leaders. But I had a problem with the language you used in the magazine. I did not understand words like “batho ba, ba phapha…” Will you please give the English of these words in future so that everybody can understand.
Thank you for pointing out the problem you had with the Sotho we used in number 6. We will make sure we always write words in English in future. It is very difficult to write the township language Thomas uses in English. The words “batho ba” mean ” these people” and the words ‘ba phapha’ mean’they are flying.” But in the story, Thomas means, “These people, they think of everything.”
Dear Learn and Teach
We are workers from Delville Extension 4 in Ger-miston. At the supermarket where we buy our lunch, there is tax on all food. We are surprised to see that one cent buys nothing from this shop — everything is taxed. According to the tax rules, food must not be taxed. But we are forced to pay tax there. They charge tax on milk, fat cakes, plates, slices, meat, eggs and sweets. What can we do?
Thank you for your letter. General Sales Tax is difficult to understand because shops can charge tax on some foods, but not on others. A general rule is that fresh, uncooked food does not have tax. It is against the law for shops to ask for tax on foods like fresh milk, fresh meat, fresh fish, eggs, butter, margarine, fresh fruit and vegetables. Bread and mealiemeal also do not have GST. But all cooked foods like fat cakes, cooked meat, fried fish, chips, plates and cooked eggs do have GST. The shopkeeper is right to charge tax on these foods. He can also charge tax on any processed food — that is any food which has been made — like cheese, yoghurt, tinned food, cakes, biscuits and sweets. Shops cannot charge GST on bread — even if it has been cut into slices — so long as nothing has been put on the bread. If the slices have butter or margarine, the shop can charge tax. If you feel this shop is cheating you, you can report it to the tax inspectors. You must give him the shop’s name and address. A tax inspector will visit the shop to check up on the taxes. Other readers who want to report shops which charge too much GST can find the address of the tax inspectors in the Government section at the back of the telephone book. The inspectors are at the offices of the Receiver of Revenue, under the Department of Finance.
Dear Learn and Teach
I am a Learn and Teach reader. I have not missed one copy since 1984. Now I would like you to put my story in the magazine. I was fired from my job as a shelf packer at the OK Bazaars. Will you come to visit me at home or shall I write my story for you?
We want you to write your story for our magazine. We are starting a new column this year called ‘Our readers write’. We will put your story on this page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Dear Learn and Teach.
My fellow comrade is in the Middleburg Prison for 18 months. He wants to study while he is inside. But the prison will not let him study. He wants to start Standard 8 in January. How can we get permission for him to study?
G S Mfamana
29th of September Street
Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear of your friend’s problems. All prisoners can study unless the prison refuses permission for a special reason. Your friend should be allowed to study and write Standard 8 exams in prison. You must arrange for him to study through a correspondence school. You must also pay all the fees and buy his books, stationery and anything else he needs for studying. We suggest you write to the head of the Prison. Ask him for permission for your friend to study by correspondence. Maybe it is the prison warders who are stopping your friend from studying. In the meantime, you can arrange a Standard 8 correspondence course through Damelin College.
P.S. We were very interested to see you live in 29th of September Street. Could you write to tell us how your street got its name? We would like to tell all our readers.
Dear Learn and Teach
I am in matric this year. I want to study some more, but my parents do not have money. Please tell me where I can get a bursary.
Thank you for your letter, Johannes. If you want to know about bursaries, you must go to the E.I.C.
Dear Learn and Teach
I am a very desperate mother of three. My problem is that I am a bit deaf. My ears were hurt when I worked in a noisy factory. When I am in a quiet place, I cannot hear anything. I worked at this factory for seven years, from 1973 to 1980.1 was fired for no reason. My problem is that I cannot find another job because I cannot hear well. Please tell me where I can claim for the damage to my ears. I also want to know how I can get a hearing aid.
Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear of your problem. Please go to the Industrial Aid Society to get help. Take any letters, or medical reports about your hearing problem that you have. The I. A.S. knows how to claim for damage caused at work. They also have doctors who can help you. They will tell you how to get a hearing aid. You might have problems getting money because it is such a long time since you left the factory. But go to the I. A.S. and speak to them. Tell them you are the person who was sent by Learn and Teach.
Dear Learn and Teach
I am in love with my girlfriend. She is now pregnant. We have some serious problems. Problem number one is that her mother does not like me. She tells her daughter to leave me. Problem number two is that her mother tried to give her pills for an abortion. My girlfriend told this to her grandmother. We love each other. My heart is on her and I believe hers is on mine. We don’t know what to do.
Worried Young Man
We are very sorry to hear of your problems. Maybe you could ask a relative to help you talk to your girlfriend’s parents. Maybe you can ask your girlfriend’s grandmother to help. Try to sort things out with her mother. If this fails, your girlfriend will have to chose between you and her mother. It is not an easy choice. Get all the help you can from friends and family. But remember, in the end, you and your girlfriend must decide on your future together. Let us know what happens. Good luck!
Dear Learn and Teach
I am writing to get advice for my neighbour, Mr Simon Moholo. He worked for Union Wine in Bloemfontein for 26 years. He had to leave because of illness. Union Wine did not give him any notice pay or pension. Mr Moholo does not know if he can get a pension from the company. I looked at his pay slip, but there were no details of deductions for pension — only the total amount. Can you believe that a successful company like Union Wine does not have a pension fund? I personally think that if that is true, it is very unfair. I feel sorry for Mr Moholo who has nothing after working for many years. Stories like Mr Moholo’s must be a lesson to other workers who are not union members. If Mr Moholo had joined a trade union, he would have got help. What can I do to help him?
We spoke to Union Wine in Bloemfontein about Mr Moholo’s pension and other benefits. They told us that Union Wine started a pension scheme for black workers only in July 1986 last year. Before July 1986, Union Wine’s black workers did not pay money to a pension fund. In South African law, employers do not have to have pension funds. Union Wine said that they paid Mr Moholo notice pay and leave pay. The manager, Mr Wolhuter, said the company gave proper pays-lips. He also said the company helped Mr Moholo to get a disability pension from the government.
He said Mr Moholo was sick for a long time and could not work again. But Mr Moholo is not old enough for a government pension. He can get this when he is 65. Mr Wolhuter also said that Union Wine gave Mr Moholo a chair worth R300 as a gift. We do not think there is much you can do to help Mr Moholo if what Union Wine says is true. You could make sure that Mr Moholo gets his disability pension. If he has problems with this, take him to see the social worker at your local administration offices.
Dear Learn and Teach
I am very interested in Learn and Teach Publications. I would like to write a book. Please tell me how to do it. I have a long story to tell. It is from my childhood.
It is difficult to write books and get them published. First you have to write your story, then send it to publishers to see if they want to print it and sell it for you. In South Africa there are a few publishers who are starting to publish stories like yours. First write your story, then send it to these publishers: Ravan Press or Skotaville Publishers. If you want to start by writing a short story, send it to us at Learn and Teach. We will try to put it in the magazine.
Dear Learn and Teach
I want to be a male nurse. Where can I go for training?
You can find out about training to be a male nurse from the South African Nursing Council. Good luck!
One day last year, when I got home from work I saw two ‘laities’. They had painted faces and they were wearing women’s clothes. When I looked again, I saw that these ‘laities’ were my nephews.
I thought these children had really gone mad at last. Then I remembered that it was Guy Fawkes Day. My nephews were very happy because they had collected a few cents.
One of them said: “Uncle please give us money. We want to buy our mother a Christmas present.” I remembered suddenly that Christmas was just around the corner. And 1986 was about to end.
I went inside the house and I sat on the sofa. Then I started reading my newspaper. I read about eleven-year-old Bongani who was shot by some people hiding in a bus. It was a very sad story.
I also read about the young boys and girls who are in detention. The story said that they are going to spend Christmas in jail. I started thinking about my nephews. What would I do if one of my nephews was detained?
They are too young to know anything. But children of their age are in jail. I thought to myself that this year was not a good year for many children. In fact 1986 was a bad year for many people.
At the beginning of the year many parents were happy that their children were going back to school. And many workers were very happy about joining COSATU. I was happy that I had just bought a beautiful sofa. And I could sleep on it at any time.
But even on the first day of 1986 there was fighting. People living in Moutse were attacked by the Imbokotho. Since then more than a hundred people have died. They were fighting against Kwa-Ndebele getting ‘independence’ from South Africa.
And in the townships there has been no peace. In many areas people are scared. Vigilante groups started all over the country. In Moutse there was the Imbokotho. In Tumahole there was the ‘A-Team’ and in Durban there wasthe’Amabutho’.
But the worst fighting was in Cape Town where the ‘witdoeke’ fought with the ‘comrades’ and 20 000 houses were burnt down.
The government said it wanted to stop the “black-on-black violence”. So they declared the new State of Emergency. 20 000 people have been detained since then.
Newspapers cannot write what they want. And at Learn and Teach we struggle — not knowing what we can write and what we cannot write.
The State of Emergency did not stop people from fighting back. More than fifty townships all over the country stopped paying rent. They say they want rents people can afford — and they want the army out of the townships. More than 20 people were killed in Soweto when the police tried to evict people for not paying their rents.
Last year workers have suffered too. Gencor fired 22 000 mineworkers from their Impala Platinum Mine. For these workers 1986 meant living without work or food. 177 miners were killed at Kinross Mine when a fire started underground. 177 women became widows and many children were left without fathers.
Many factories have closed. The bosses say that they are not making enough money. And many workers have lost their jobs. They have no hope of finding new jobs, like the workers in Port Elizabeth.
Some things were better than in 1985. For example, we sold more magazines than we did in 1985. I would like to say thank you for supporting us. Also for reading my column.
A new newspaper, The New Nation, was born. And the UDF had its third birthday. CUSA and AZACTU came together, to start a new federation of trade unions. I wish them good luck in their struggles.
A lot of things happened during last year. But what will happen this year? Will students go back to school? Will more people lose their jobs? What about rents? Will people be evicted or will they pay?
There are more questions than answers. And I look at my nephews and think that they do not know anything about these questions. All they know is that they want to buy their mother a present. And they want me to buy them presents.
They want to play. And they hope that one day they will have cars like their uncles. And maybe one day, their young friends will come home from jail. Well, they are too young to understand.
I just hope that things will change this year. I hope the government will change its mind and its laws. Maybe they will end the State of Emergency. Or maybe they will listen to the people of our beautiful country.
And then maybe we will live happily. But for now, I say, “Have a peaceful year. And remember this year, is the Year of the Homeless. I hope all the people in Crossroads in the Cape, ‘Mshenguville’ in Soweto and everyone living in shacks, have a better year than last year.”
Heyta daar. See you next time!
WHY IS TURRET DIFFERENT
by Babylon Xeketwane
What makes Turret Correspondence College different from other colleges? By the way, I have tried each and every correspondence college south of the Equator. Name one — I have tried it. I tried them all because I really wanted my Matric.
When I first went to Turret, I did not feel good. I waited to speak to someone. Then Sheila called me into her office. When I came out of her office, I felt like a different person — I felt good.
And I learnt something from her. I learnt that it was not just the Matric certificate that was important. But learning was also important. And not just school learning — but learning what is happening around you.
Anna was the second person I met at Turret. And I grew to like her very much. Anna knows and remembers each and every student at Turret. Margy and Sasa helped the students. They did much to make all of us enjoy our time at Turret.
And of my fellow students, I cannot say any one did more than the others to make my time at Turret something special.
All I can say is that I am finishing my three years with Turret and I will never forget them. Turret has taught me to say NO when I want to say No.
(from the Turret Correspondence College newsletter, Johannesburg.)
When Learn and Teach read what Babylon said about Turret College, we went to Turret to find out what it is all about. There we spoke to Cindy Cupido and Darkie Molantoa.
COURSES FOR MATRIC
Cindy started by telling us how Turret began. “Turret Correspondence College is part of SACHED — the South African Council for Higher Education,” said Cindy. “We run courses for people who want to study for their matric certificates.
“Turret prepares people to write the Turret Joint Matriculation Board (JMB) examinations. We chose the JMB examinations because they are the only examinations that everyone can write — it doesn’t matter what colour the students are — unlike the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.”
‘LEFT-OUTS’ NOT ‘DROP-OUTS’
Then Darkie started to talk. “Very often people who leave school before they finish are called ‘drop-outs,” he said. “But calling people ‘drop-outs’ means you blame them because they left school.
‘Here, at Turret, we call people ‘left-outs’ because we feel schools leave people out in the cold. And these are the people we try to help. Turret is for adults who never finished school. We try to give these people a second chance to learn.”
“When Turret College started, people who wanted to do matric used to come to the Turret Centres.” Cindy said. “People came for lessons once a week. But last year Turret College changed. Now we are a correspondence college. People study on their own, at home.
“We have workbooks for every subject. We try to make our workbooks as interesting as we can. And we try, in our workbooks.to make people ask questions about what they are learning— not just learn without thinking.”
TURRET’S TWO COURSES
“We have two courses at Turret. One course takes three years and the other course is just for one year,” said Darkie.’ ‘The three-year course is for people who have done Standard Eight or Form Three.
“And the one-year course is for people who have done matric but not Or people who started matric but not write their exams.”
THE THREE-YEAR COURSE
“In the three-year course, people spend two years doing the subjects they will write on the higher grade. At the end of the first year, people write a Turret exam. Then at the end of the second year, people write the JMB exam.
“In the third year, people do their standard grade subjects. And if people want to do Mathematics, then they must do it over three years.”
THE ONE-YEAR COURSE
“With the one-year course, people only do the subjects that they failed when they wrote their matrics before. If people did not write matric, then they do all the subjects together.”
“We have ‘learning events’ four times a year at each of our centres. At ‘learning events’ all the students who are studying through Turret come together for a week-end. We try to cover each subject during these week-ends.
“‘Learning events’ are important because students meet and talk. They also give students a chance to organise study groups so that they can help each other at home.”
Turret has centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Grahamstown, East London, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg. If you are interested in studying with Turret Correspondence College, you can write to them.
Early one Sunday morning, two months ago, while most of you were in dreamland, we crawled out of bed and made our way to Mathopestad, in the western Transvaal.
Women from many different places were meeting in Mathopestad. The women were meeting because they are all fighting a struggle that is one and the same. They are fighting this struggle with the help of TRAC — the Transvaal Rural Action Committee.
When we got to Mathopestad, we joined everybody for a meeting in the graveyard. The proud women of Mathopestad wanted to show their visitors the new fence around the graveyard. The fence was the first thing the women built after they won their struggle for Mathopestad to stay in South Africa — and not to become part of Bophuthatswana.
After the fence-opening meeting, the women of Mathopestad gave us a huge, wonderful, tasty lunch. After lunch, we licked our lips, took out our pens and paper, and spoke to some of the women who were gathered in Mathopestad.
Mama Lydia Kompe from TRAC told us: “We brought the women together to build unity. All the women have the same kind of problems. For example, the women from Brits and Huhudi are fighting against forced removal. The people of Matjakeneng, Braklaagte and Bloedfontein are fighting because they don’t want their areas to become part of the ‘homelands.’
“Some of the women who are here have already won their struggle — like the women from Driefontein, Kwa-Ngema and Mathopestad. We wanted these people to tell the others about their struggles and to give them support and hope.”
Ellen Khoza and Johanna Tele from Brits said: “We came to this meeting to talk about our problems as women. Since Friday night we have talked about many things. We talked about removals and self-help projects. We want to make and sell things so that we can use the money to help detainees in our area.
“At this meeting we saw that we are not the only ones who are suffering. We learnt from this meeting that if women are united, then there is nothing to stop us. To the women in Brits, we say: “If we are not united then the government will send us to Letlhabile.”
And another group of women from Driefontein in the Eastern Transvaal said: “We have won our fight against the removals in Driefontein. We came to this meeting to help other women who are still having problems. We want them to know that women can fight their own struggle and win. After the death of Mr Mkhize in Driefontein, women took over the fight and won. The only weapon we used was unity.
“We are going to tell the other women in Driefontein about women who are still suffering in other places. At this meeting some women told us about their problems. For example, most of the women say they do not have food for their children. We told them what we do in Driefontein to help ourselves. We plant things and sell them. We work together and support one another. And this way we are strong, very strong.”
Dorah Sechogo from Huhudi said: ‘ ‘We came here as women from Huhudi to tell other women about our problems and so other women from other places can help us. Our children are killed by the vigilantes and we have been evicted from our houses. We are now living in the Roman Catholic church in Huhudi. The administration board wants to move us to a place called Pudimore. But we are all united and we will soon overcome our problems.”
A woman from Braklaagte near Zeerust said: “We came here because the government in Bophuthatswana wants to give us a new chief who says that Braklaagte belongs to Bophuthatswana. But we don’t want this new chief. We don’t want to be under Bophuthatswana because the government of Bophuthatswana doesn’t talk straight.
“We have learned a lot from other women at this meeting. We have learned that we must be united and strong. We also heard how other women have helped themselves by starting self-help projects. We must now do the same.”
A woman from Mogopa near Ventersdorp said: “In 1984 big white lorries from Bophuthatstwana came to Mogopa one night. They packed us and moved us without saying anything. Now we are waiting to go back home. We know that we must hang on and stand up like soldiers.
“At the meeting here we have heard about the suffering of our sisters in other areas. When we heard their stories, the tears were running from the eyes of every woman. It is not nice to be pushed out of your home.”
“Yes, there was much crying,” said Mama Lydia Kompe. “But then the crying stopped because we know that tears won’t take away the problems. We must have action. I think this meeting was important because every woman agreed that she must work hand in hand with other women. We must start working together in committees and organizations — and then we must join hands with our husbands and children.”
“WE, THE WOMEN SAY…….”
We, the women of Mathopestad, Huhudi, Brits, Braklaagte, Bloedfontein, Matjakeneng, Mogopa, Rooigrond, Driefontein and Kwa-Ngema, gathered here at Mathopestad on 22 November 1986 say:
We demand an end to all forced removals
Our sisters from Brits are under daily threats from the bulldozers. Let them stay where they are in peace. Oukasie has been their home for over half a century. They have a right to remain. We believe that all communities under threat of removal have a right to remain.
We demand an end to the stealing of our citizenship
Many of us, especially those from Bloedfontein, Braklaagte and Matjakeneng are in danger of losing our citizenship to Bophuthatswana. We are South Africans, we refuse to give up our citizenship. Mangope is a stranger to all of us. We want him to leave us and our land alone. We have seen the suffering of people in Bophuthatswana. We do not want to live in fear in that terrible place.
We demand help for all victims of forced removals
We wept when we heard the terrible stories of how our sisters in Mogopa and Rooigrond have suffered. They have suffered the pain of forced removal. They were forced to leave their peaceful homes. Now they are so very poor, living as refugees and squatters. Let them go home now! Let them rebuild their homes and their lives. We demand the same for all victims of forced removal all over our country.
We demand an end to detentions and for the police and vigilantes to leave us in peace
Some of us have been detained, others have had our children taken from us by the police. In Huhudi and Brits we have been attacked by the vigilantes. People have been killed and homes destroyed. We demand that we mothers be left to live in peace with our children. We want this, not only for ourselves, but for all South Africans.
Lastly, some of us from Driefontein, Kwa-Ngema and Mathopestad say that we have won our struggles. Yet, this does not mean that we can now sit back. We cannot live in peace until all communities, all over the country, are free from removal, free from losing their citizenship, free from detention, and free from the attacks of vigilantes.
We women pledge ourselves to stand together in unity with our communities and other communities who are struggling against forced removals and other evils. We will organize all of our women to do the same. In this way we believe we will move nearer to a free and equal South Africa.