Dear Learn and Teach You never write about domestic workers. Have you ever thought about the problems of domestic workers —like their low wages, R50 to R80 a month. They still have to buy groceries and clothes for their children. And they have to pay busfare too. Domestic workers get increases as low as R5 after a year. They work on public holidays and week ends but they never get overtime pay. Domestic workers sometimes work until half past eight or nine o’clock at night. They cannot even go to church on their off-days. While you are tidying up, your madam makes a mess. Then she blames you because the place is not tidy. The worst thing for domestic workers is that they cannot even go home at Christmas time to see their children and parents. The employers keep them in — even if they have visitors, the employers controls them. They must stand outside the gate, even if it is raining. Domestic workers are people. And a person is a person by the people. Crying person, Phindile NEWTOWN
Dear Phindile Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to read your story. But everything you say is true. It is a long time since we did a story on a domestic worker. We hope to do a domestic worker story in the next magazine. We know a domestic worker who has a black belt in Karate. She doesn’t take nonsense from anyone. We took your letter to SADWA — the South African Domestic Workers Association. They say that casual workers must get R18,10 a day, plus transport money. They must also get food and if they work overtime, they must get R2,50 an hour. Bosses mustn’t call their workers ‘girl’. If you want to know more, write to: SADWA, Tudor Mansions, 78 Troye Street,Johannesburg 2001 You can phome them at 23-0667. Good luck.—editor
Dear Learn and Teach I read your magazine for the first time. A friend asked me to read it. There is one thing I want you to help me with. Please write this message in your magazine. I want to tell Mr. P.W. Botha this. He must let Mr Nelson Mandela go free before it is lights out for him. Botha must step aside if the seat is too hot for him. It is no disgrace to leave the seat when you are in a panick. Thank you, Peter Skosana GUGULETU
Dear Peter Thank you for your letter. We are pleased that you like the magazine. We have put in your message to Mr. Botha but we don’t think that Mr. Botha reads our magazine.—editor
Dear Learn and Teach Please print my letter. Praise of Liquor Liquor is my shepherd I will never have money or become rich It makes me sleep in ditches full of dirty water It pulls me towards evil places It is destroying my life It always leads me to evil places because of hang-overs But I will never stay withour liquor though I am staggering in the river of sorrow For you are always with me You make me an empty dish for supper You always put a heavy load on top of my head and shoulders My cup of evil deeds is flowing Truly I will always have bad luck I will always find myself in a big hole But because I promise never to say good bye I will stick to my friend, liquor. Sipho Samuael Manana DAVEYTON
Dear Sipho Thanks for your poem. We hope that the readers like reading it. Don’t drink too much otherwise babalas will kill you.—editor.
Dear learn and Teach I have a problem. I work for Fidelity Guards Security. I worked as a policeman for five years and as a security gaurd for two years. I work from six in the morning till six in the evening. I never have a week-end, or holiday, or even Christmas. For all this, I get R340 a month. I never get a bonus, sick leave or a paid holiday. My wages have stayed the same since I started here. I only get 4 days off a month and I get leave after 14 months. Please tell me what I can do? Kaizer Mundondo GERMISTON
Dear Kaizer Thank you for your letter. Your job sounds very heavy indeed. The big problem is that the law says that security gaurds can work longer than other workers. The best thing you can do is to join a union. There are two unions that work with security workers. They are:Transport and General Workers Union,Harrester House, 65 Harrison Street,Johannesburg 2001 or Vukani, 7th floor, Lekton house,Wanderers Street, Johannesburg—editor