Letters from our readers 1989 No 1


Dear Learn and Teach I am a reader of your magazine. I even sell it. My problem is that I am at school in Oukasie and I have no money. My mother works on a farm. She cannot help me as she gets too little money. My brother helped last year. He was working at the Zenex filling station in Rand Park. But he was fired for no reason and now he is sick with a brain problem. I am living alone in a boarding house in Oukasie. But I have not even paid my landlady rent. I need help to get a proper house for my family. But it is difficult as the government wants to move Oukasie. At the moment I sell paper bags and your magazine to get money for food and school fees. Please tell me where I can get help. Thomas Chabalala BRITS

Thank you for your letter, Thomas. We are sorry to hear about your problems. We spoke to the Education Information Centre to find out if they could help you with a bursary for your school fees. They say that it is too late for this year. If you want a bursary for 1990 you must write to them before the end of April 1989. They will send you a list of people who give bursaries. You must then choose from the list who to write to. Their address is:- Education Information Centre, 601 Dunwell House, 35 Jorrissen Street, BRAAMFONTEIN 2001 Tel: (011) 339 2476


Dear Learn and Teach I am sitting with a problem. I bought a Telefunken 1310 colour TV set from Russells Furniture Store in Rustenburg in June 1987. In September 1988 the television went off while I was watching it. I took it to Tel View to be checked. They repaired it for R175.00. Two months later the television broke down again. When I took it back to Tel View they wanted to charge me again. I tried to explain to them that the problem was the same as before. They did not want to listen. So I took it to Ziniaville where I paid R260.I think that Tel View should have repaired my TV set properly so that it did not cost me so much money. What do you think? A. M. Segopa RUSTENBURG

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear about the problems which you had with your television. We spoke to a lawyer. The lawyer agrees that Tel View treated you unfairly. He says that if a shop repairs some- thing and it breaks again soon afterwards, then they must repair it again. And they must not charge you. This is common law. But the problem is that it is difficult to force a shop to fix something for free. So there is not much you can do — except stay away from Tel View in future.


Dear Learn and Teach I would like to share a joke with you. One day a man by the name of David Crime went to a restaurant where you eat first and pay after. When David finished his meal, he licked his lips and got up to go. As he reached the door, the owner of the restaurant called him over and asked: “Why don’t you pay for the food that you have eaten?” The man looked at him, licked his lips again, and said: “Don’t you know that Crime doesn’t pay?” Mtswala KWA-THEMA


Dear Learn and Teach I greet you in the name of our struggle in the fight for a non-racial and democratic South Africa. Can you please send me the address of the South African Council of Churches? I want to talk to them about helping me fix some of my problems. K.M. RUSLOO

The headquarters of the SACC have moved to a new building since the bombing of Khotso House last year. The new address is: 4th Floor, Queensbridge Building, 60 Juta Street, Braamfontein 2017. Tel: (011) 403 7000


Dear Learn and Teach I greet you in the name of the Freedom Charter. I want to thank you for your magazine which teaches us a lot. I sell your magazine. There is something I want to ask you. The last batch of magazines which you sent was open when I collected them from the Post Office on 3rd January. The paper was torn and there were only 49 magazines inside – one was missing. I asked the man at the Post Office if anyone at the Post Office or on the goods train has the right to open parcels. He said he did not know. What can I do? A seller UMLAZI

Thank you very much for your letter. You aren’t the first person to complain about such a problem. We spoke to Parcel Enquiries at the Post Office. They said that the Post Office does not open parcels. But, if you see that your parcel has been opened or tampered with when you collect it from the Post Office, you have the right to ask the Post Office to start an enquiry. You must fill out an Enquiry Form (B/154). It is better to fill it out immediately. The invoice slip Learn and Teach sends you gives the number of magazines in the parcel. Show this to the Post Office. Each Post Office keeps a record of all parcels that were open when they received them. So, they will then trace the station where the parcel was received open. The enquiry takes about a month and if the Post Office was responsible for the missing magazines, you will receive compensation (up to half the total value of the parcel).


Dear Learn and Teach I want to do something to work for a democratic, non-racial, socialist South Africa. I think the way I can do this is by doing journalism and photography. Please tell me where I can go for professional training and where I can get a bursary. And can you tell me what kind of camera I must get – my grandfather promised to buy me one. I shall not take pictures of beautiful ladies and smartly dressed people. I want to show the bad and unhealthy way our people live. I want to tell people about our struggle in Botshabelo against incorporation into Qwaqwa. No newspapers write about it, not even Learn and Teach. But I really enjoy reading Learn and Teach. Will you put some of my stories in your magazine? I want to thank you for the information which you give so cheaply. Samuel Motlohi RAMAHUTSI

Thank you very much for your letter. It is good to hear from young people who want to help the people. There are many places where you can study journalism. Here are some addresses: School of Journalism, Rhodes University, Private bag 1029, Grahamstown 5140. Tel: (0461) 22023 or their Johannesburg office: (011) 788 5543 Natal Technikon, P.O. Box 953, Durban, 4000 Tel: (031) 210237 Argus Cadet, Peter Mann, P.O. Box 1014, Johannesburg 2000 Tel: (011) 633 9111 When you buy a camera, buy one that uses 35 millimetre film and has a reflex lens. These cameras are expensive so try to buy a second-hand one to start with. Try to find a photographer where you live who can teach you how to take good pictures. We hope that you succeed. We would be very happy if you write a story for Learn and Teach about Botshabelo — and even happier if you sent pictures with it!


Dear Learn and Teach I want to thank the staff of Learn and Teach for their wonderful work. The thing that is worrying me is lack of money. I am a sixteen year old boy and I am in Standard Six. Every Saturday I wake up early and look for garden work. I usually find work but the money is too little. I get R10.00 a day for 10 hours work. This is no good. I want to sell your magazines. Johannes Mashile SOSHANGUVE

Thank you for your letter, Johannes. It sounds like you are having a difficult time. We know that garden work is heavy and that people do not like to pay for it. We will be happy if you sell our magazines. We will give you a 33% discount on every magazine you sell – that means you sell the magazine for 75 cents, and keep 25 cents for yourself. We will send you 25 magazines to start with. Write to the Education Information Centre and ask them about bursaries. You can find the address in the answer to the first letter in the magazine.


Dear Learn and Teach I am very worried. Learn and Teach was my most favourite and dearest magazine. But then things turned bad after I moved from Standerton to Volkrust. In Volksrust I could not even find one page of Learn and Teach blowing in the wind. I will be very happy if you tell me how I can get Learn and Teach delivered to my home. David Dlamini VOLKSRUST

Thank you for your letter and kind words, David. We have sent you an order form. It costs R7.00 for the next six issues.


Dear Learn and Teach I want to complain about the D.E.T. Every year the matric results of the whites come out smoothly. But with our results there are always quarrels. Last year the D.E.T. promised us that our results would appear in the daily newspapers. On the day the results were due to come out, I rushed to the shop to buy a paper. But there were no results in it. My mother phoned the Herald offices and asked them about the results. The Herald said they were told that the results were going straight to the schools. The D.E.T. never think that some principals are out of town. In the end we only got our results at the end of December. So, dear Learn and Teach, please ask the D.E.T. to stop playing hide and seek with our results. We want to know them early in December so that we can make arrangements for the next year. We cannot even enjoy Christmas when our results are late. Worried student PORT ELIZABETH

We hope the powers that be at the D.E.T. see this letter – and do something about it! \


Dear Learn and Teach I have a problem and I need your advice. I worked for a dry cleaner. Clothes often got lost because the place was so busy. But if we lost clothes accidentally, we had to pay for them. I paid more than R500 in two months. I decided to leave because I was suffering more than anybody else. There were many other problems at that dry cleaner. We were not paid when we worked overtime. Or if you forgot to collect something, the boss would deduct R10 or R20 from your pay. The boss never hired enough staff. And he only paid some workers R25 a week. He also gave workers porridge to eat with dog bones. But the workers were too frightened to join a union in case they lost their job. What can the workers at the dry cleaners do? P Mabena TEMBISA

Thank you for your letter. It is against the law for a boss to deduct money from a worker’s wage without their permission. The workers at the dry cleaners should go to the Industrial Aid Society. Their address is:- The Industrial Aid Society, 202 Metro Centre, 266 Bree St., JOHANNESBURG, 2001 Tel: (011) 29-9315/6/7


Dear Learn and Teach I read in the paper that in Boksburg if you walk on green grass, you get whipped. And if you sit on a bench or pass water in the toilet, you will go to jail. I was also shocked to see that Patrick Lekota, Moss Chikane and Tom Manthata got long prison sentences. They are going to jail for nothing. They did not once raise weapons as did de Wet and Kemp. The law in South Africa is one-sided! Simon van Wyk LENGAN


Dear Learn and Teach I am a reader of Learn and Teach, the most democratic magazine in South Africa and the world as a whole. I hope you will help me to overcome my problem. I was arrested last year, on 31 January on a charge of assault. I was taken to the Lebowakgomo Police Station, together with another person who was also charged. We paid bail of R50 and our case was heard on the 3rd October. The Lebowakgomo interpreter asked for what he called “dissy” bribe money so my friend and I would not be found guilty. He asked for R100. When I refused he said that we were going to be convicted that day. And we were found guilty. We had to pay a fine of R150. I want you to help me pursue the case. I believe I was found guilty unjustly. I think people are judged according to how much they have in their pockets. Is that justice? Worried South African JOHANNESBURG

Thank you very much for your letter. We are sorry to hear about your court case. We spoke to someone at the Wits Law Clinic. They wanted to know if you had a lawyer when you went to court. If you did not have a lawyer, they think they can help you. You must go and see them. When you go, you must take your case number, the date of your conviction and the date of the sentence. You will find the law clinic at: The Law Clinic, Oliver Schreiner School of Law Building, West Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Ave, BRAAMFONTEIN Tel: (011) 716 5644/5


Dear Learn and Teach Comrades, please help me to help my comrades who are badly treated by their bosses. I am twenty years old and I am living in Katlehong. But my home is in Witsieshoek in Qwaqwa. I am sick in my heart when I think about my brothers and sisters who work at Qwaqwa. They are working for nothing. When you visit Witsieshoek, you will see many factories there. Most of the people who work there are women. They do all kinds of work – they even work with steel. They only get between R55 and R61 but the cost of living is so high. The person to blame for these low wages is our chief, Mr Mopeli. I know this from my brother. He worked as a driver for Grinaker Construction when they were building the dam in Qwaqwa. His pay was R70.90. When he asked for more, his boss said no. He said our chief said he mustn’t pay more money because we don’t pay rent. It is the first time I hear that money is just for rent! I ask the comrades in the unions to please try and help the workers of Qwaqwa. M.P.M. KATLEHONG

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