Letters from our readers 1989 No 2


Dear Readers We have a problem with some of the letters that we get. Some letters do not have the name and address of the reader. So we cannot answer the letter. So please do not forget to write your address at the top of your letter. Heyta daarl Editor


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a very worried resident of Boitumelong township. In Boitumelong the rent goes up and up every month but nothing in the township changes. We still use the old bucket toilets. We have to fetch water far from our houses. Our roads are not tarred. There is nowhere for young people to relax so they go to shebeens. There are no creches for working mothers. There is not even a high school here. When they turn the water off, they do not warn us. The domestic workers here are underpaid. They need SADWU to help them organise. We all need to organise. How can we? I wish Learn and Teach would visit us here. Please help us to build the nation. We are lost. Kehencoe BLOEMHOF

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear about your problems in Bloemhof. We hope to visit you one day so that we can write a story about the people of Boitumelong. Here are the addresses of people who can help you to organise: Council of Churches P.O. Box 1533 Kimberley 8300 Tel: (0531) 71-1094 or SADWU 34 Bastion Road Howard Building Bloemfontein 9300


Dear Learn and Teach, I live in Gompies in the northern Transvaal. Every year we pay R15 for the water supply. We have paid this money since 1979 but my village has still not got piped water. We are paying for nothing because about 95% of the people have borehole water or windmills. What is funny is that if you do not pay one year, no-one in your family can get anything they need from the authorities. What can we do so that we do not have to pay this money anymore? Help us please. J.M. MOLETLANE VILLAGE

Thank you very much for your letter. We have spoken to the Transvaal Rural Action Committee (TRAC) who can maybe help you. Their address is:- TRAC P.O. Box 2827 Johannesburg 2000 Tel: (011) 403-3154


Dear Learn and Teach, I am very grateful to you for what you are doing for the readers of Learn and Teach. I get Learn and Teach from a friend who always sends me a copy. I hope you can help the people of Ekandustria in Kwa-Ndebele as you have helped others. The workers in Ekandustria earn pea­nuts and their working conditions are the worst I saw. All the factories come from the big cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria. They are very happy to find the cheapest workers in Kwa-Ndebele. Many of these factories do not want trade unions and do not want to pay a living wage. The bosses of these factories are told by an Office of Works how much to pay. I think that this office is selling us to the bosses. We are not allowed to speak for ourselves — the Office of Works speaks for us. They promised us a workers’ committee a long time ago but still there is nothing. So please, dear Learn and Teach, do something for us here at Ekandustria. Concerned Worker EKANGALA

Thank you for your letter. While Kwa-Ndebele is still not independent, the workers still come under South African law. This means that you can join unions and fight for your rights. Here are the addresses of unions in Pretoria: COSATU 14 Brown Street Pretoria 0002 Tel: (012) 21-7621 NACTU Bosman Street Willie Theron Building Pretoria Tel: (012) 26-6242


Dear Learn and Teach, I need your help very badly. I am a SATS worker. I asked for a loan to buy a house. They agreed to give me R33 000 last February but I still have not found a house. Some builders tell me that my loan is too small. Others say that they do not work with SATS. Now my wife is mad with me. She says that I do not look like someone who is looking for a house. She says she is.sick and tired. I do not know what to do. Can you give me the names of people who will find me a house for R33 000 and who work with SATS? Muntu Mbhele SOWETO

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear about your problem. Have you spoken to the Family Housing Association? They have projects in Thokoza, Katlehong, Khutsong and Vosloorus. Their address is: The Family Housing Association Bank of Lisbon Building 37 Sauer St Johannesburg or: P.O. Box 9868 Johannesburg 2000 Tel: (011) 836-3381 If you want to live in Soweto, you must ask either the Diepmeadow or the Soweto Council if there is land or houses to buy. If you can find some land in Soweto, we will do our best to help you organise plans and a builder.


Dear Learn and Teach I worked for 7 months at Mondi Board Mills in Springs, i worked as a temporary for all these months. I never missed work unless I was off-duty. Then my boss, Mr Simons, told me that there was no more work for me. I can’t understand why he says I was a temporary if I worked there so long. Please help me. D.J. SPRINGS

Thank you for your letter, D.J. The law says that if you work more than three days a week for the same factory, you are not a temporary or a casual worker. So no matter what Mr Simons says, you were not a tem­porary worker. Mr Simons cannot fire you for no reason. This is an unfair labour practice. Even if you did something wrong, there are procedures which your boss must follow. The Printing, Paper, Wood and Allied Workers Union (PPWAWU) in Springs are organised at Mondi. They say you must come and see them and they will help you. Their address is: PPWAWU 1st floor, Palladium Building Cnr 4th Street and 3rd Avenue Springs Tel: (011) 56-7925


Dear Learn and Teach, Can you help my father? He worked at the Richmond Divisional Council as a machine operator for 17 years. In 1987, he had a stroke and lost his job. When he left, he got nothing from the council. All he gets is a disability pension every two months. My father was the bread winner so now he cannot afford to send us to school. We are far from unions around here. I hope you can help my father as you have done for so many. Zola Nkewana RICHMOND

Thank you for your letter, Zola. We are very sorry to hear about your father’s problem. We spoke to Mr van der Merwe at the Victoria West office of the Council. He said that no black workers belonged to the pension fund before 1985. And now only workers who are paid monthly can belong – not workers whose wages are worked out by the day, like your father. So we are sorry to say that they do not owe your father any money. But if you write to the union for Divisional Council workers, they could try to get a gratuity for your father especially because he worked for the council for so long. The union’s address is: South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) Trade Union House 8 Beverley St Athlone, 7764 Tel: (021) 637-8140


Dear Learn and Teach, When I started school, I was registered with a different surname to the name on my birth certificate. Next year when ! finish school, I will need to show all my certificates. I have tried to change my surname but as my parents’ names are different to mine, I have not succeeded. I have no I.D. book because of the above problem. I tried to get a baptismal certificate but could not. Worried MABOPANE

Thank you for your letter, Phirox. You can solve your problems in two ways. Ask the principal at your school to give you new school certificates in the name of your birth certificate. Or you can go to the Department of Home Affairs. They will give you a form to fill in and later, a new birth certificate.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a young fellow of twenty. I am still at school doing Standard Ten. I wish to study law if I pass my matric. My father is too poor to pay for me at university. Even now I struggle to make a living. I live in Clermont. My mother used to help me. But last year, my mother was gunned down. So I need a bursary. Eric Xaba HAMMARSDALE

We are sorry to hear about the death of your mother, Eric. Here are the addresses of two organisations which give bursaries in Natal. We hope that they will help you. Equal Opportunities Council (E.O.C.) 1304 Newspaper House 85 Field Street Durban 4001 Tel: (031) 306-3742 Trust for Christian Outreach and Education c/o Federal Theological Seminary Mziki St, Imbali Pietermaritzburg 3201 or: P.O. Box 2283 Pietermaritzburg 3200 Tel: (0331) 8-1291


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a guy of twenty two years. I hope you will help me with my problem. I am an activist from Daveyton. I was unfairly expelled from school in 1987 because I am an activist. I was treasurer of the Students’ Representative Council and in 1985 I was an executive member of the Daveyton Youth Congress. I have been detained many times. I have looked for a job for two years now. I am desperate. My mother tries to support us but she only earns R50 a week. Comrades, as you know, under capitalism and imperialism there is no life. We live in a country that is very rich but most people are suffering. Victim of Apartheid DAVEYTON

If anyone knows of a job for this comrade or any other, please write to us at Learn and Teach.

Dear Learn and Teach, My name is Deliwe Margaret Timba. I am trying to find my late father’s family. My mother knows nothing about his family. My father told us that he came from Komatipoort. He was still very young when he left home. He met my mother in the Cape. His name was Mnguni Russeli Timba or Ntimba. His sister’s name is Nomanzi. His brother’s name is Mhlupheki and his mother’s sister’s name is Noziga. If any of these people, or anyone who knows of them, reads this magazine, please will they contact me. It hurts me that I do not know my blood relatives. Deliwe Timba, 11481 Site and Service Zakhele Location PORT ELIZABETH, 6205 Tel: (011) 403-7000/4253


Dear Learn and Teach, This letter is written on behalf of our parents. They were the first people to live in Lady Seibourne, Pretoria. We came to know Learn and Teach through our parents and have read your magazine ever since it started. We really liked your story on Zakes Nkosi. We were sure that it was written by jazz legend Mike Mazurkie Phahlane. But he denies it. He says that you spoke to him about Ntate Nkosi last year. But please, Learn and Teach, get him to write a story about Kippie Morolong Moeketsi – don’t just ask him for comment. Mike Phahlane helped a lot of jazz musicians. Or maybe you can even write a story about Mike Phahlane himself, the Indestructible Man of Kofifi. You might come out with important stories about him that our parents and grandparents did not know. Tsepo Maifadi SOSHANGUVE

Tsepo, we will show your letter to the Indestructible Man of Kofifi himself!


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a sixteen year old Norwegian girl. I would like to write to a boy or girl in South Africa, i have many interests – especially the political problems in South Africa. I want to know what South Africans of my age think about the problems of their country. My address is: June F. Nestle Hans Egecles vei 3 1470 Lorenskog NORWAY


Dear Learn and Teach, I have many pimples on my face, i have tried different medicines but nothing helps. Please give me some advice. Prudence Mbendeni BELLEVUE

We spoke to a doctor about your problem, Prudence, She said you must try to keep your skin clean. And try not to eat oily foods and food with lots of sugar in it.


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to congratulate you on the work that you do for the oppressed nation. You prepare the way to freedom. Without you we would fumble in the oppressor’s chains. Do you know a school where I can iearn to write books? I want to learn to write for my fellow brothers and sisters. Xoiani Mnguni LUSIKISIKI

Thank you for your letter and kind words, Xoiani. We are sorry to say that there are no schools that teach you how to be a writer. But the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) runs workshops on writing. Their address is: COSAW P.O. Box 421007 Fordsburg, Johannesburg 2033

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