Letters from our readers 1987 No 6


Dear Learn and Teach, I will be happy if you can help me. I want to learn how to play chess but I do not know anyone who can teach me. Can you please tell me where I can learn chess in Soweto or Johannesburg? N X Dlamini SOWETO

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to Mr Eddie Price who is the President of the S A Chess Federation. He said he is writing a book about teaching people to play chess. He would like you to help him with his book by letting him teach you chess. If you want to learn chess with Mr Price, contact him at: P O Box 545, Roodepoort 1725. Tel (011) 716-3797 work (011) 782-7544 home. If you write to him, you must put “For the attention of Eddie Price” at the top of your letter. Please tell him that you are a reader from Learn and Teach. If you want to join a chess club in Soweto contact Mr Arthur Kobese of the Central Transvaal Chess Club. Contact Mr Kobese at 647 Diepkloof Extension Tel (011) 23- 6397 work (011) 933-2803 home. There is also a chess club in Johannesburg which you can join when you have learned how to play. Anybody is welcome to join the club, which meets every Wednesday evening at 7,30 at the Hillbrow Recreation Centre, next to Hillbrow Police Station. We hope you enjoy learning how to play. Good luck and we’ll check you, mate!


Dear Learn and Teach, I wanted to become a social worker, but because of some problems I cannot reach my dream. I have decided to try to work in an advice office, giving advice to people with work, legal or personal problems. I am hoping to pass my matric at the end of this year, and want to start work next year. Maureen DAVEYTON

Thank you for your letter, Maureen. We are sorry to hear that you have problems. If you want to work in an advice office in your area, go and talk to the people at the Daveyton Advice Office. You can visit the offices any weekday, from 9am to 1pm, at: St Martin’s Catholic Church Daveyton 1507 Tel (011) 963-1403 This office is run by the Witwatersrand Council of Churches, which runs community advice offices in different areas. The office workers will be able to tell you about training courses for advice office workers run by the WCC and Black Sash.


Dear Learn and Teach, Please help us with our problem at school. Our principal has told us that if we don’t pay fees, we must leave school. But early this year, we students decided that nobody will pay school fees. We cannot pay fees at this time of the year, but we do not want to boycott and disturb the call for “return to school in 1987”. We want you to send us the address of SAYCO urgently so that we can hear what they have to say about this problem. Viva SAYCO! STUDENTS NORTHERN CAPE

Thank you for your letter, students. Unfortunately, there is no address to write to SAYCO. They do not have an office. But if you write to the UDF head office, they may be able to help you: UDF, 6th floor Khotso House, 42 De Villiers Street, Johannesburg 2001.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am doing the first year of a teaching diploma, but I think I have chosen the wrong course. I just chose this course because of lack of information but I am not enjoying it at all. I think teaching will be the wrong profession for me. Please help me to chose a good career. JM SEKHUKHUNELAND

Thank you for your letter. Before you do anything, speak to somebody at your college who can advise you. Speak to one of the teachers you trust – and discuss your problem openly. If you want to find out about other careers, write to the : Careers Research and information Centre (CRIC), P.O. Box 78 Claremont 7735.


Dear Learn and Teach I feel that it will be unwise of me not to tell you that Learn and Teach magazine is winning the hearts of many people in my village, slowly but surely. This month’s issue told us about the struggle of our people. We were moved by the face of Nelson Mandela. People have longed to see and hear about this great leader. We are now waiting to see what the next copy has for us. Everyone is proud of you. Keep up your good work and hold your position. Your faithful seller, M.M Phuthaditjaba


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a guy of 20 and I am working to support myself. I have no parents. The wages in my job are too low. I want to go to work on the mines. But my problem is that I also want to continue with my education. I have tried to study by correspondence, but it is too hard to study by myself. I come home late from work and I cannot attend night school. Is there a mine where I can also go to school? I want to start next year. Petrus BOTSHABELO

Thanks for your letter, Petrus. We know how hard it is for people to study and work at the same time. We spoke to Howard Gabriels, the Education Officer for the National Union of Mineworkers. He says you can apply to work on the mines at the TEBA office in your area. You must tell the TEBA clerks that you want to work on a mine where there is a school for miners. Most mines which get workers through TEBA now have schools. Good luck with your studies and we hope you get a job for next year.


Dear Learn and Teach, Greetings to all readers and writers of your magazine. I need your help with this family problem. I am 29 and had a white wedding in 1982. I paid lobola of R800 in cash. We had a baby boy in 1983, and my wife already had a child of 7. This child uses the surname of my wife’s father. Things started to go wrong when I became sick and lost my job. I took my wife and child home to her parents. We took all our furniture and stored it with a friend, because we could not afford to pay rent. I went to Mafikeng to look for another job. I found a job and went to visit my wife. I found only the child. My wife was gone. I found out that she had taken all our furniture and clothes. She sold some of the things. Another friend told me my wife is staying with another man and they have a baby. I don’t know if my wife has divorced me, or if she is only staying with this man. I want my child back – where must I report this matter? Worried Husband MAFIKENG

Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to hear about your problems. Firstly, your wife could not have divorced you without you knowing anything about it. Secondly, if your wife is staying with another man, then you have a good reason to divorce her. Thirdly, if you do get divorced, the court will only give the father the child if he can prove that the mother is not looking after the child properly. If you want to get divorced, it’s best to go to a lawyer. But that costs money. If you cannot afford a lawyer, go to the commissioner’s court or magistrates court and tell them that you want to get divorced. But before you do anything, try to get some help from a social worker. If you are a member of a church, ask your priest for advice. We hope that you sort out your problems soon.


Dear Learn and Teach, I worked as a bus driver from 1984 until last month. The bus company retrenched us. Now I have no work. I want to sell things like ballpoint pens, clothes, earrings and cosmetics to make some money. How can I get a licence to sell these goods? I want to sell in Venda and South Africa, because my home is near Sibasa. I want to get that licence in Johannesburg because it is very hard to get a licence in Venda. Unemployed SIBASA

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear that you lost your job as a bus driver. A person who sells things in the street or from house to house is called a hawker. You must apply for a hawker’s licence in each place where you want to sell your goods. Some local authorities do not allow hawkers to sell in their areas at all. In these places, you cannot get a hawker’s licence. Each local authority is different, so you must find out from each place if they allow hawkers or not. In South Africa, you must find out from the nearest licensing department, which is part of the municipality. Usually, the licensing department is in the municipal offices. You can get the address from the telephone book. Look up “municipality” under “m” in the phone book. If you want to sell in Venda, you must get the permission of the local tribal authority. You must ask the chief or the people working in the tribal authority offices for permission. Good luck!


Dear Learn and Teach, Please help me to solve this problem of school fees. I enrolled with Damelin to do Std 9. The fees were R295 and I paid R100. But the person who gave me money to pay the fees is no longer working because he was injured in an accident. I wrote to Damelin to explain to them that I have no money to pay the other R195. I tried to tell them that I cannot go on with my studies. Now I am very worried because they sent me a letter telling me that they will take me to court. They said that I will have to pay legal expenses. They also said that my name will be put on a blacklist of people who do not pay their bills and this will stop me from buying anything on credit in the future. What can I do about this problem? Patricia KAGISO

Thank you for your letter, Patricia. We spoke to the principal of Damelin, Mr J P Brummer. He said that all students sign a form when they enroll at Damelin. On the enrollment form are the words “not subject to cancellation”. This means that you cannot cancel the agreement to pay the school fees, even if you have very good reasons, or if you cannot carry on with your studies. Mr Brummer said there is no chance of you cancelling your agreement with Damelin. But he said you can go to talk to him about your problem at the school at Damelin Centre, corner Hoek Street and Plein Street, Johannesburg (near Park Station). Mr Brummer said that if he is not in when you arrive, you can talk to his deputy, Ms Thompson. Before you go to see Mr Brummer, try to think of ways to pay the fees. Take with you any papers or pay slips or bank books which will prove that you have no money and that the person who was paying your school fees is no longer working. We hope you can sort out this problem with Damelin so that you will be able to finish your matric one day. Please let us know what happens. Also, we hope that other readers learn from your problem. Think twice, and be very careful, before you sign anything!


Dear Learn and Teach,

I am a young man of 20 and I am doing Std 9. I want to learn a trade. But I do not have money to go to college. My mother and father are both on pension. I really want to be a motor mechanic. Where can I get a bursary to learn this trade? I have the address of the school I want to go to. Daniel SOWETO

Thank you for your letter, Daniel. You cannot learn to become a mechanic by just going to a college. You must have on-the-job training. If you want to train as a motor mechanic, you must get an apprenticeship with a garage. The garage must register you as an apprentice with the Department of Manpower. You will then learn the trade under qualified mechanics at the garage, and by going to a technical college for a few weeks at a time during the year. You will not have to pay fees when you go to the college. At the end of the apprenticeship, which is usually four years, you will do a trade test. If you pass, you will be a qualified mechanic. Maybe the school you know about is one of the schools which runs short training courses, then gives a certificate to say you attended a course. Most of these courses are too short to teach students very much, and the schools do not help you to find a job. Most people complain that they spend a lot of money for the course, but the certificates mean nothing.Try to find a job with a garage – and ask if they will take you on as an apprentice next year. Good luck!


Dear Learn and Teach, I have some tooth-crushing problems. I hope you can help me to solve them. The first problem is with Old Mutual Insurance. I took out a life policy, and started to pay monthly premiums of R40. I never got my policy document, so I cancelled the payments through my bank. I felt very unhappy that they took my money every month from my account, but I had no proof that I had a policy. I complained to the agent and he said I must write to the head office. But I cannot do that because I do not even know how to start the letter -1 have no number or proof that I have a policy. Do you think this agent has stolen my money? My second problem is with a lawyer. I went to a lawyer to discuss a legal case. He said I must pay R450 before he starts the case. I gave him R100 and he opened a file for me. The next day I changed my mind about the case, and told him I wanted to try to solve my case by myself. To my surprise, he refused to give me my deposit back. He said that it cost R90 just to listen to my story and open a file in my name. Can this really be true, or is there any way I can get my money back? AP WELKOM

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to Old Mutual’s head office in Cape Town. They do not know why you did not get a copy of your policy. If you write to their Client Services Department, P O Box 66, Cape Town, 8000, they will send you a policy document. Please give your full names and date of birth. But you will then have to pay the money you owe from the time you told your bank to stop payment. If you want to cancel your policy, you will probably not get back any of the money you have paid in. Unfortunately, you will probably not get back the money you paid to the lawyer either. Many lawyers charge R90 for listening to a case and opening a file. If you feel the lawyer did not explain things properly to you, or misled you, it is possible to complain to the Law Society. The address of the Law Society in the Orange Free State is: Law Society, P.O. Box 319, Bloemfontein. Tel (051) 73237

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