Letters from our readers 1989 No 3


Dear Learn and Teach, In your February/March magazine, you wrote a story about the poet, Mzwakhe Mbuli. I heard that this poet has recorded his poems. Where can I get the recording? M. Fungeni LETABA

Thank you for your letter. Mzwakhe has made a recording of his poems, but we are sorry to tell you that the cassette was banned. The recording was made by Shifty Records. If you want to know what other cassettes Shifty Records has made, you can write to them at:- Shifty Records P.O. Box 27513 Bercham 2013


Dear Learn and Teach, I have a very big problem on my shoulders. There are five of us at home and our parents are both dead. After my mother died, my aunt got a grant from the welfare for my little sisters and brothers because they are still at school. But in December last year, the welfare sent a letter saying that my one sister is too old to get a grant anymore. My sister is 19. She is in Std. 9 and she really wants to finish school. She loves education. I only get R25 a day. With this money I must look after my 3-year-old child and my girlfriend. But what about my brothers and sisters — how are they going to live? Sometimes I feel that life is too heavy. M. Antonie MAMELODI EAST

We are sorry to hear about your problems, Michael. Perhaps you should go and see the Family Life Centre. They will tell you where you can get help for your sister and your family. Their address is:- FAMSA, Synod Centre 228 Visagie St PRETORIA 0002


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a regular reader of your magazine. I am a security guard at Sunnyhoek Flats. This is a Gencor property. The agents were Sage Life, but now they have been taken over by Intersuburb Property Services. Intersuburb pays me the same as Sage Life did, but they pay me much less overtime. For example, in April, I worked 24 hours overtime and instead of paying me R103.44, they paid me R43.08. I want to know why my monthly wage is the same but the overtime is less. Please help me. J.M.R. HILLBROW

Thank you very much for your letter. You are right that you are getting too little overtime pay. For the first ten hours of overtime, you must be paid a third more than your normal pay. After ten hours, you must get one and a half times your normal pay. Let’s say you earn R3,00 an hour. In the first ten hours of overtime, you must get R4,00 an hour. But after that you must get R4,50 an hour. If you work on a paid holiday, you must get twice your normal rate. So if your normal rate is R3,00 an hour, then you must get R6,00 an hour. If you want to take this matter up with Intersuburb Property Services, go to the Industrial Aid Society or one of the unions for security guards. Here are the addresses: Transport & General Workers Union Cor Bree & Klein St 3rd floor Queenscourt Johannesburg Tel: 29-4913 I.A.S. 202 Metro Centre 266 Bree St Johannesburg T el: 29-9315 Vukani Guards and Allied Workers Union 2nd floor, Lekton House 5 Wanderers St Johannesburg Tel: 29-4971


Dear Learn and Teach, We have formed a burial society here in our section. We donate R10 a member when death occurs. Now four members have lost someone in their families. But after they got donations from the burial society, they disappeared. We want to take them to the Small Claims Court because our policy says that you cannot resign from the burial society after you have got the money. What can we do? P.M. TEMBISA

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to a lawyer who said that if your constitution and rules say that a member cannot leave your society after getting money, you can sue them for ‘breach of promise’ – in other words, for breaking the rules. You can claim the money you gave them back, but not the money they paid to the burial society. The lawyer also said it is best to get help before you go to the Small Claims Court. You can get help from: Tembisa Advice Office Tembi Shopping Centre Xaxa Section Tembisa, 1628. Tel: 920-3208 or Wits Law Clinic Oliver Schreiner Building West Campus University of Witwatersrand Braamfontein Tel: 716-5644


Dear Learn and Teach, I am married but my wife is no longer living with me. We have one child who is eight. My wife is living with another man and has another child by him. My wife’s parents keep my child with them and I give them money for my child and buy her clothes. But they won’t let my child visit me. I want my child back. What can I do? Worried Lucas SOWETO

We spoke to the Child Welfare Society about your problem, Lucas. To get custody of your child, you have to go to court. The court will only give you custody if you and your wife were legally married. Otherwise your child belongs to your wife and her family. If you can prove that your wife’s family are cruel to your child, the court might also give you custody. The best thing to do is to go to the Wits Law Clinic. Ask for Mr Tondi and take all your papers with you. We must warn you that going to court is a long process. The address of the Law Clinic is in the answer to the letter above.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am happy to get the chance to write to you from Modderbee Prison, where I am doing a five and a half year sentence for fifteen counts of housebreaking and theft. I want to thank you for your magazine. But now I am thinking about my future and I am writing to you because I am a poor person. My parents cannot help me because they are suffering just like me. I want to find someone who can sponsor me because I want to become a world famous boxing champion. I am nineteen years old. I did not go to school for long but my body is strong and I am fit to be a boxer. Vusi MODDERBEE

Thank you for your letter, Vusi. We are happy to hear that you have found something to give you hope for the future. We spoke to the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders (NICRO). They said that they will phone Modderbee and make sure that you are getting all the boxing training that you need. We wish you luck.


Dear Learn and Teach, I like you, Learn and Teach, because you teach me a lot of things. Here, we are working in very bad conditions for only R70,00 a month and sometimes, a bag of maize meal. We must be in the fields by 6 am and there is no limit to the number of hours we work, without any overtime pay. We live in muddy compounds, right in the middle of the farm so the farmer can get us whenever he wants us. The farmer does not give us overalls, raincoats or gumboots. But he expects us to work in the rain. There is no pension scheme, leave pay, bonus or sick pay. And we must work even if we do not feel well. I beg you to help.

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear about your heavy life. The GADRA Family Aid Centre may be able to help you and your fellow workers to come together and talk to the farmer about your working conditions. You will find them at: GADRA Family Aid c/o Day Hospital Cobden St GRAHAMSTOWN 6140 Tel: (0461) 2-3044


Dear Learn and Teach, I am 17 years old and I am in Standard 7. My parents are dead and there is no-one to pay my school fees next year. I love school very much. I want to be a lawyer. Please help me make my dreams come true. E.J. Modikwane MARIKANA

Thank you for your letter. For all the students who need money to stay at school, here is a list of all the people that we know who give bursaries. African Scholars Fund (For black secondary schoolchildren living in the Cape Province and Ciskei) P.O. Box 294, RONDEBOSCH 7700 Tel: (021) 61-4573 Centre for Social Development (Mainly for black students in Grahamstown) P.O. Box 94, GRAHAMSTOWN 6140 Tel: (0461) 2-4483 GADRA Educational Welfare P.O. Box 126 GRAHAMSTOWN 6140 Tel: (0461) 2-4483 South African Institute for Race Relations (Applications must be in by July) Bursary Department P.O. Box 32597 BRAAMFONTEIN 2017 South African Students Association (SASA) P.O. Box 74 CRAWFORD 7770 Tel:(021) 633-8373 SHAWCO University of Cape Town 12th Ave Kensington 7405 Tel: (021) 593-2420/2170 Trust for Christian Outreach and Education P.O. Box2283 Pietermaritzburg 3200 Tel:(0331) 8-1291 Teach Every Child on the East Rand (TEACHER) P.O.Box 14139 FARRAMERE 1518

Dear Learn and Teach, I greet you all in the name of the struggle of all South Africans. I am writing this letter on behalf of my brothers who are intimidating you. I am a municipal cop. I joined the force against my own people because I come from a poor family. We were promised 100% housing subsidies as civil servants but now we are exploited. When we ask for something, we are told to talk to the SAP. But the SAP tell us to talk to the town council. The town clerk is AWB and the mayor is a sell-out. We, the Tokoza Municipal Police declare ourselves part of the Tokoza community. We tried to join SABMAWU but they refused, saying we are SAP. Please, Learn and Teach, help us. THOKOZA

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear about your problems. The South African Municipal Workers Union say you can go and talk to them. Their address is: SAMWU 404 Queens Court Cnr Klein and Bree St JOHANNESBURG 2000


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to know to get a matriculation exemption. I am 25 years old. I wrote matric twice and got Fs. But I want to go to university or college next year. What must I do? D. Matodzi

Thank you for your letter. Unfortunately, you did not give us your address so we cannot write to you personally. But here is the answer to your question. The joint matriculation Board will only give you a matric exemption if: – you are over 23 years of age – you have passed four matric subjects, two on higher grade – you have a place at a university or college – you are going to study a three-year course. You do not apply for the exemption — the university or college where you have a place must do that for you. When we spoke to the University of the Witwatersrand, they said that very few students get into university like this. But if you have studied other courses since writing matric, it will help you to get a place at university.


Dear Learn and Teach, Congratulations on your courageous stand and thanks for publishing Comrade Mandela’s Rivonia speech. Your magazine is a beacon of hope in the sea of darkness around us. Amandla! Gopie NEWLANDS WEST


Dear Learn and Teach, Give me some space in your magazine. I am doing Standard 8 at Linyanti Secondary School. I am a SWAPO member and I am worried about the way we are treated at this school. Our country is on its way to independence but we are ill-treated by our puppet teachers. At the beginning of the year we were told that there must be no politics at school — not even political T-shirts. When I and some fellow comrades wore our Swapo T-shirts at sports time, we were warned by our puppet sports organiser. But most of the DTA members wear their N.A.C.O.S. T-shirts, even during study time. The teachers always talk about us as SWAPO supporters. They even threatened to send us to the tribal court. But we do not care. We will not stop supporting SWAPO or fighting for freedom. A luta continua. T.T. KATIMA MULILO


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to greet the staff of Learn and Teach. I pay tribute to those dedicated to the freedom struggle. Sicelo Dhiomo is our inspiration. Let’s follow in his footsteps. Rest in Peace Sicelo, your spirit will live with us forever. Johannes ELIM

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