Letters from our readers 1985 No 5


Dear Learn and Teach My cousin is nine years old. He is both blind and deaf. For the past two years we have tried to send him to the lower primary school in our area. But the school will not take him. Can you please tell us where we can find a school? B.A. Mnguni ODENDAALSRUS

Thanks for your letter. We are very sorry to hear about your cousin. Write to: Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind, Private Bag 829 Witsies­ hoek, 9870. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Greetings to all the readers. I think we have a problem in our country. We are fighting for free­dom but we kill our brothers and sisters. I say forward with the black people – but let’s not kill each other. Hendrick Ntshane JOHANNESBURG


Dear Learn and Teach I work in an engineering factory. The people who work here have a hard time all the time. When you go to the toilet, they are behind you. There is no time for rest. I think there is only one thing to do. We must join a trade union and fight for our rights. Samson N. EDENVALE

Thanks for the letter Samson. The factory sounds like a terrible place. Write to one of these unions: Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU), 1st Floor, Harrister House, 65 Harrison Street, Johan­nesburg, 2001, Tel: (011) 836-4736 or Steel Engineering and Allied Workers Union, Box 61289, Marshalltown, 2017, Tel: (011) 834­ 4771/4. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Why doesn’t the magazine advertise on TV? If you advertise on TV everybody will find out about the magazine. But you will need someone who is not shy for the advert. I am not shy and I think I could do it well. Please write back to me as soon as you can. Rodney Sekano KAGISO

Thanks for the letter Rodney. We are pleased that you are not shy. But we are shy to go anywhere near the TV. When SABC TV leaves the govern­ment’s bed, maybe we will think of advertising ­ and then we will send for you. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I work for the security department here on the mine. When I joined the union, I was in big danger of losing my job. I was hated by the bosses and black seniors for going to meetings of Amandla Awethu. But I told the workers the good news from NUM – and I told NUM about the things that make us unhappy. Cornelius Stomp Ntshidi ODENDAALSRUS


Dear Learn and Teach I am a nightwatchman in a block of flats in Killarney, Johannesburg. I get R174-12c a month. Th is is not enough. I need doubIe to look after my wife and children at home. I spoke to the Super­intendent of the building about my wages. He said he will try to pay me more in December. I can’t wait that long. What can I do? S.M.N. JOHANNESBURG

We are sorry to hear about your problems. We hear bad stories about nightwatchmen all the time. There is a trade union for nightwatchmen. It’s called Vukani. You can find them at: 7th Floor, Lekton House, 5 Wanderers Street, Johannesburg. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Greetings to all the readers and staff of Learn and Teach. I am a senior shopsteward of our trade union and chairman of the region. But my parents do not like all this. They keep on saying that I will be arrested if I don’t keep away from politics. And if I am arrested, then my parents will suffer. What do you think I should do? C.C. Khoza

Thanks for the letter. First of all, we could not write back to you because you forgot to give your address. It is not against the law to join and work for a union. The law is very clear about that. But as you know, in South Africa you can carefully follow the law – and still get thrown into jail. So we can’t tell you what to do. You must do what you want to do! -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Thank you for your magazine that teaches us. I want to know more about unions. I want to know how unions help people. I am a worker and my life is hard. I want to have a new life. Please answer my letter quickly. Lucas Masombuka ALBERTON

Thank you for your letter Lucas. Unions bring workers together. Bosses will not listen to one worker. But if all the workers come together, the bosses must listen. Then the workers can tell the bosses what they need and want. Write and tell us where you work. Then we can tell you what union to join. There are different unions for different kinds of work. We will be happy to help you. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I want to know about youth organisations. I’m a member of COSAS in Umlazi. But I do not live in Umlazi. I live at Adams Mission near Kwa­ Makhutha. There is no organisation for young people at the mission or Kwa-Makhutha. Please tell me how we can start COSAS at Adams Mission. Also tell me where I can get a COSAS T-shirt. A.M.O. UMLAZI COMMERCIAL HIGH SCHOOL

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to tell you that COSAS was banned in August. This means you cannot ask people to join COSAS – and you cannot get a COSAS T-shirt. If you want to start an organisation for young people at Adams Mission, you cannot call it COSAS. Speak to the young people at Adams Mission and Kwa-Makhutha. Ask them what they want to call their organisation. Ask them what they want their organisation to do. Good luck. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Thank you for your magazine. It opened my eyes and made me ask questions. I am 16 and I live in a small mining town. It is difficult to know what is happening in South Africa. Please send me the words of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. I am ashamed that I do not know them. Sometimes I get angry because I want to help. But I don’t know what I can do. But now I can learn Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. It is a small thing but it means a lot to me. Tracey Petersen STILFONTEIN

Thank you for such an honest letter Tracey. We have sent you the words of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika by post. Learn them and then you can teach others. Good luck and happy singing. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach I work for a building firm in Ogies. It is a very big firm with branches all over South Africa. We have big problems at work. For example we worked on Easter Monday – but we did not get extra money. I spoke to the people that I work with. I said that we must join a union. Three of us belong to SAAWU. The others say, “Thina sizo sebenzela abantwana bethu and this union business is nonsense.” What can we do? Lesley Radipudi OGlES

Thank you for your letter Lesley. First of all, if you work on a public holiday, the law says you must get extra money. Or you must get a day off during the week after the holiday. Secondly, try to talk again to your fellow workers. If they think a union will help them, then they will join. Good luck – do not give up hope. -editor


Dear Learn and Teach Congratulations! I want to tell you what I think about the Austin Hleza story. It is bad that our brothers and sisters do not do what they do best ­ like Austin. Austin was not happy working in an office or the mines. I am very happy that Austin went back to his pottery. I wish him good luck. I also want to talk about the women of Drie­fontein and their play. To them I say: Go forward and do not stop.’ Derrick Lentsoane SOETVELDE

Thank you very much for your letter Derrick. We like to know what our readers think about the stories. The women of Driefontein and Austin will see what you say about them. Thank you again. -editor

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