I am not a thief


Mrs Winnie Hulane is a domestic worker in Durban, Natal. She has eight children. Two of her children are married but six of them are not married.


GO TO SCHOOL


Two of her children go to school in the Transkei. Another two of her children live with her sister in Inanda township, near Durban. Only two of Mrs Hulane’s children live with her.


BOUGHT LAND


Mrs Hulane worked hard and saved money for many years. Then she bought some land at Malagazi, near Durban. She bought the land so she could make a proper home for her children.


TOLD TO MOVE


She said: “At last I managed to build a mud house. But now the government told me to move. The government wants to build a location there.


‘MY HUSBAND LEFT ME’


“My husband left me. He has gone off to live in Johannesburg with another woman. I have to work alone to support my children. I must pay for their schooling and their uniforms. My married children don’t help me.


IT IS WRONG


“My people think it is wrong for married children to give money to their parents”.


HAD AN ARGUMENT


Mrs Hulane worked for a woman in the Durban suburb of Bellair. She started work there on a Monday. On the Friday Mrs Hulane and her employer had an argument.


DOG MESSED HOUSE


Mrs Hulane asked her employer to keep her dog outside the house. The dog messed in the house. Mrs Hulane told her employer that the dog made the house dirty, and smelly.


EMPLOYER GOT ANGRY


Mrs Hulane’s employer got angry. She said Mrs Hulane stole five pieces of cheese and some bread.


WHITE LADY TOOK CHEESE


Another white lady stayed with Mrs Hulane’s employer. Mrs Hulane told her employer that this lady took the cheese and gave her two slices. Her employer then said she took R30 and some meat.


EMPLOYER. CALLED POLICE


Mrs Hulane’s employer called the police. When the police arrived her employer took them into the house. She spoke to them in the house. The police then arrested Mrs Hulane.


SHE WENT TO COURT


They took her to the police station. They put her in the cells. She stayed there until Monday. Then she went to court.


NO MONEY FOR BAIL


She says: “At the court the magistrate told me I had to pay R 50 for bail. My heart was heavy because I had no money. The police took me back to jail because I did not have money for bail.”


STAYED IN JAIL


Mrs Hulane stayed in jail for 20 days, waiting for her trial. From jail she wrote a letter to a friend. She told her friend what happened to her.


SHE LEFT JAIL


When her friend got the letter she told the story to the Domestic Workers’ Association. Some peonle from the Domestic Workers’ Association went to jail and paid the R 50 bail so Mrs Hulane could leave prison. She left jail, but she had to go later to court for the case.


THERE WAS NO CASE


She went to court to face charges of stealing. But she was told there was no case. She was free to go.


GOT A NEW JOB


Mrs Hulane is happy the case is over. She has got a new job. She works for the Young Christian Workers’ Organisation in Durban.


‘I CRIED A LOT’


She said: “It is terrible in jail. I was always worried about my children. I cried a lot because I did not know what to do.


“I was also worried that my children didn’t have food. I thought they might have to leave school and go out and work and earn money for food.


‘I PRAYED IN JAIL’


“I prayed a lot in jail. I was so worried that I became sick and got terrible, bad headache.


‘I AM NOT A THIEF’


“I am glad to be out of jail. Now I can work again and earn money. My children must stay at school and learn. I work just for my children.


“I am not a thief. I do not steal” .

If you would like to print or save this article as a PDF, press ctrl + p on your keyboard (cmd + p on mac).

Explore more categories