Letters from our readers 1985 No 3


Dear Learn and Teach I am sending a short poem about Wilson “King Force” Silgee who died earlier this year. I hope you find a space in your magazine. Wilson Silgee was of my old days. He was my schoolmate. He was also of the Marabi Period. He teamed up with Zulu Boy Cele, Kippie Moeketsi and several others in the days of the Bantu Men’s Social Centre.

In Memory of Silgee A name, you leave A KING FORCE Your comrades, trumpeting into heavenly skies A last parting post.

Modikwe Dikobe Settlers


Dear Learn and Teach I need help from you badly. My problem is my U.I.F. card. I was working for OK Bazaars, Florida. But they fired me with no reason. 18 months ago when I went to collect my money, they said I must wait for my U.I.F. card. They said they would write to Pretoria for it. They told me it would take three months. I waited for 12 months. When I went to the OK, they said I must be patient. Then my U.I.F. card arrived in March. I went to ask for my U.I.F. money. They said I was asking for my U.I.F. money very late. The people at the U.I.F. offices said I must go back to the OK Bazaars. They said the 0 K must write a letter, saying why my U.I.F. card had taken such a long time to come. They said I must take this letter back to them. So I went straight to the OK in Florida to ask for the letter. But there was a new personnel officer. He said that he knew nothing of my case and that he did not want to know anything about it. He said the OK was happy to go to court if I wanted to make a case against them. So now I don’t know what to do. My U.I.F. money was my last hope. My family is dying of starvation. There is no money, no work and no food. Your worried one Ernest Mzwenkosi Siyothula ROODEPOORT

Dear Ernest Thanks for your letter. We gave it to our lawyers. They ask that you go and see them at the Law Clinic at Wits University. The Clinic is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8.30 in the morning to 1 o’clock. They want you to take all your documents with you. We hope they can help you. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Greetings to all the readers. I have a problem in my township, Temba. The mayor of Temba is Mr Tlhobane. He owns the mortuary. He is also the minister of water and public works in the Bophuthatswana government. We spend three weeks in the month without water, but we pay our money for it. People are working at Babelegi Industries for R9.00 a week. And our rents were R 11.00 but now they are R22.00. When we want to complain, we cannot find our mayor. He lives in Mafeking but he is the mayor of Ternba! Does that make sense? I want to tell the other residents of Temba that we must pull up our socks. We must strike or boycott Babelegi Industries and the rent increases. Or we must say that we do not want Temba to be part of Bophuthatswana, where we are tools of Borha’s boss boy, Mangope. What shall we do? Slave of Mangope and Tlhobane TEMBA

What can we say? You know what your problems are. There are many townships with the same problems – as we have seen in these troubled times. But it is not enough to write to us. You must talk to the people who live and work around you. Maybe you and your friends could start an organisation to fight for a better life. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Greetings to everyone. I am fine. I want the magazine to have more pages now. I also think that the Learn and Teach readers must start a club. We must come together to learn and teach each other. A. Kheteng ARANDIS, NAMIBIA

What a good idea! The best place to start is where you live. Mr Kheteng, if you send us your address, we will put it in the magazine. Then people in Arandis can come and talk to you – and our other readers can write to you. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I am a form V student at Bopedi Bapedi High School in Lebowa. I get your magazine from my mother. She lives and works in Soweto but she comes home every month end. She said the magazine will help me in English. This year in February, the students at our school had a peaceful strike. We wanted to talk to the principal, Mr Matlejoane. But the police came and sjambokked us instead. So we all boycotted classes for a week. Mr Sparkle Kekana came and said we must go back to classes. He told the principal not to call the police when we have meetings. We called the strike the “Black Week”. Now we are back in our classes with the words of Mr Kekana in our heart. D. Lentsoane SOETVELDE

Thank you for your letter. It is very interesting to read about your strike. We hope everything is still going well at the school. We are pleased to hear that you made an agreement with the principal.editor


Dear Learn and Teach I want to talk about some of your stories in the first magazine of 1985. First the Long walk: I think that Joao Balewa Batista showed great bravery. Their bravery is a lesson to us. But they also made mistakes. They should have kept together in Johannesburg and they should have kept in touch with the people in their home country. The story “Working without a boss”, also teaches us a lesson. It teaches us that waiting in lines for work is no good. People must work together and try to help themselves. The people in the knitting and sewing groups are now without cruel bosses. They are also making their own decisions. We must help them by buying their goods – rather than buying things from factories. Learn and Teach should help them to advertise. And lastly, we mourn for Maude Nzunga – the baby from Sharpeville who died a week after police threw teargas into her parents house. I think teargas caused her death and it will ruin the health of many more people. F.Ondy TEMBA

Thank you very much for writing to us. We always like to hear what our readers think about the stories in the magazine. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I have a problem. I am a salesman in a shop. I pack and I clean the shop. I have worked there for six years. I start at 8.00 in the morning and I finish at 6.00 in the evening, 5 and a half days a week. For this I get R 165 a month. My wages have been the same since 1982. I never get a bonus, sick leave or a paid holiday. And my boss does not give me a payslip. I do not trust my boss. What can I do? A.L. LOUIS TRICHARDT

Thank you for writing to us. Next time please write your address so that we can write back to you. Your working conditions sound very bad. There is a law called The Basic Conditions of Employment Act. This law gives workers some basic rights. They can’t get less than what this law says. This law says that if you work 5 and a half days a week, you must not work for more than 8 and a half hours a day. This law says you must get 12 days sick leave a year and two weeks paid holiday. Your boss is also breaking the law if he does not give you a payslip. Don’t go and tell all this to your boss by yourself. He may fire you. First talk to the other workers in the shop – and then go and talk to the boss together or the workers can choose somebody to go and talk to the boss for them. Or you could write to a trade union. Maybe they can help you. The shop workers trade union is called the Commercial and Catering Workers Union of South Africa (CCAWUSA). Their address is: 2nd Floor Khotso House, 42 De Villiers Street, Johannesburg, 2001, Tel: (011) 23-6127. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I want to sell your magazine. But I also want to say something to you. We want to read about our area. I have never read about our area in your magazine. E.P. Zibane EMPANGENI

Thanks for your letter. We agree with you. It would be nice to have stories from Empangeni, but we don’t have anyone in Empangeni to write for us. Why don’t you send us ideas for stories – and then try to write some stories yourself. We will also need photographs so try to find a photographer to help you. We hope to hear from you soon. -editor

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