Letters from our readers 1990 No 1


Dear Learn and Teach, My home is in Bizana village in the Transkei but I work in Durban. I am not happy because letters from Bizana take two weeks to reach me here in Durban. Also, there are no public phones in Bizana. People who have telephones make us pay a lot of money to use their phones. What can we do? Thembinkosi ROSSBURGH

Thank you for your letter, Thembinkosi. We spoke to the Post Office in Bizana about your problems. They say you must find a good and safe place for the public phone. To get a public phone, someone from Bizana must speak to the Postmaster at the nearest Post Office. That per­son must also fill in application forms for a pub­lic phone. The Post Office also said that if you are unhappy with how long the post takes, you must speak to the Postmaster.


Dear Learn and Teach, In February last year, I worked for a company called J. Risito Engineering in Sebenza, Edenvale. I knew that my wage should be R203 a week but they only paid me R100. I told my fellow workers that we must join a trade union but they did not listen to me. So I joined a union on my own. After that I wrote to the Industrial Council and complained about my wages. The Industrial Council sent an inspector, who fixed many things at work, and everyone’s wages went up. But even today the workers do not want to join the union. Samson ALEXANDRA

Thank you for your letter, Samson. We spoke to a union about your problem. The union says if you want your fellow workers to join you in the union, you must listen to them very carefully. Try to understand why they are not joining the union and what problems they have at work. You must show the workers that the union can help them with their problems.This means that the shop stewards must fight for the workers’ rights. The more problems you overcome, the more workers will join the union. Good luck with your organising!


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a regular reader of Learn and Teach. Your magazine makes me happy. At the moment I am doing piece work in Durban. But before that, I worked on the mines in Bophuthatswana and the Reef for nine years. During this time I paid some money into the Mines Provident Fund. Two years after leaving the mines, I asked for my contributions to the Provident Fund. I waited for a cheque for six months but nothing arrived. I then wrote three letters to the Provident Fund but nothing happened. I also spoke to the Black Sash in Durban but they could not help me. I asked the TEBA representatives in Bulwer but they said they knew nothing. Now I do not know what to do or who to ask for help. Please help me as I need the money. Lindelihle DURBAN

Thank you for your letter, Lindelihle. We spoke to someone at the Provident Fund. She said that there was a problem with the forms you sent them but now the problem has been sorted out. She also said they sent you a letter and a cheque on September 21 this year. If you have not received this letter, please write back to us.


Dear Learn and Teach, I worked for Beares Furnishers for three and half years. After working there for two years, they started deducting R29,90 from my wages for pension. When I left Beares on March 3 this year, I asked for my leave pay, my pension money and my UIF card. But they told me that I had taken my leave and that they did not owe me leave pay. They also said I must wait three months for my pension money. I have waited for six months and still there is no sign of it. At the same time, Beares are busy sending me account statements for the furniture I bought from them but they do not send my pension money. Please help me find my belongings. Barney VOSLOORUS

Thank you for your letter, Barney. We spoke to someone who works in the Beares head office. She said that they sent your pension money to the Brakpan branch of Beares as that was where you last worked. She also said they sent your cheque on August 22 this year. So you must go to the Brakpan branch and If your cheque is not there, please contact us again.


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to thank you for your interesting magazine. I am glad to write to you after my detention in Thohoyan­dou Police Station where I spent 62 days. I was released after going on hunger strike. Since my release, my employers at Dunn Store, where I am a salesman, no longer want me. They say I am a politician. But now I want to work for the future and freedom of our country. I want to join COSATU or any other organisation. Please send me their addresses. Khoro SiBASA

We are sorry to hear about your detention, Khoro. If you want to do work that will help people, perhaps you should talk to the Legal Resources Centre. They help people to set up advice offices. Maybe you could start an advice office In Sibasa. Their address is: Legal Resources Centre 5th floor Velro House Bureau Lane Pretoria 0002 Here is Cosatu’s address as well. Cosatu P.O. Box 1019 Johannesburg 2000


Dear Learn and Teach, I would like to start by saying “Viva” to the freedom fighters of South Africa. Do not allow fear to rule your lives and running away will never make you a man, my brother. I am a student in Venda and I am looking for help and advice from you. In Venda we pay taxes to the chiefs but they do not help people who are starving. I do not want to see the “mahosi”, President Ravele and his cabinet destroying the people of Venda. So I want to start an organisation and call it the Northern Poor People’s Organisation (NPPO). I would like advice from you about how to start an organisation. I say forward with the people’s government, down with Ravele’s banana government. Long live Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela! Concerned Student MULIMA

Thank you for your letter. Before you start a new organisation, maybe you should talk to the Mulweli Counselling Centre. They are already working with people from Venda. Also, they will give you better advice because they know Venda better than we do. They also work with poor people who have problems. You can contact them at: Mulweli Counselling Centre Shop 15 Maranatha Centre Burger St, Louis Trichardt 0920 Tel: (015581) 3807


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a domestic worker in Johannesburg. I need help because I am not very happy with my pay or with my hours of work. I heard that there is a union for domestic workers. Please give me their address. Elizabeth JOHANNESBURG

Dear Elizabeth, The union for domestic workers is called the South African Domestic Workers’ Union (SADWU). The address of their head office is: Community House, 41/43 Salt River Road Salt River, 7925 Tel: (021) 47-9621


Dear Learn and Teach, I have been a reader of your magazine for eight years now. I think it is a very important magazine for the people of South Africa. I am from a poor family. My father died when I was a baby, and since then I have lived with my grandmother. I worked at a garage until one night when I was doing night shift all by myself. At about 10 o’clock that night, two white men arrived in a safari truck. They asked me to put R8 worth of petrol into their truck. While I was busy putting the petrol in, they got out of the truck and beat me. Then they stole about R135 from me but I managed to take down their car registration number. Soon after they left, a police van arrived and I told the police what had happened. They chased the men but did not catch them. The following day I went to the police station to make a statement. When it was time to get paid, my boss said he would not pay me until I paid him the money that was stolen. When I said we must wait for the police to catch the thieves, he tried to beat me and I ran away. What really worries me now is that I do not have money to support my wife and child. I also need to pay my accounts. Ernest BETHLEHEM

Thank you for your letter, Ernest. Your boss had no right to refuse to pay you because the money was stolen from you. Bosses may not deduct money from anyone’s wages without their per­mission. If your boss thinks that you have stolen money from him, then he must report the matter to the police and let them investigate. So your boss still owes you wages for that week. If you also paid pension money into a pension fund, then he owes you this money as well. He should also give you your blue card. We think that you should also visit an advice office in Bethlehem. They can help you to get the money that your boss owes you. Or you can write to the Lawyers for Human Rights for help. Here are their addresses: Bethlehem Advice Office St Aidans Mission Thelane St Bethlehem 9700, Tel :(01431) 4-1981 Open: Mon, Thurs, Fri, 9.00am -1.00pm Lawyers for Human Rights Suite 713 Van Erkom Building Van Erkom Arcade Pretorius St Pretoria 0002, Tel:(012) 21-2135


Dear Learn and Teach, Please publish my letter in your magazine. I want to say to Ray Phiri and Stimela and those who sing songs about the struggle or with a message, do not give up. You help us to know the truth about what is happening in our country unlike those who sing bubblegum music. We want music which has a message so do not be afraid. Well done, Mzwakhe Mbuli for your record, Unbroken Spirit. God be with you. Long live, Ray Phiri and everyone who loves the Freedom Charter. Thulani BUSHBUCKRIDGE


Dear Learn and Teach, I greet you in the name of the struggle. I write this letter because I want to honour this wonderful maga­zine that tells us what is happening in South Africa. I would also like to tell you that in our area we strug­gle to find Learn and Teach. That is why I want to sell your magazine. I think it will help to make people more aware as they are suffering under apartheid. Here in Nqabeni we live under very bad conditions. There are no clinics and there is no entertainment. The youth have become the slaves of alcohol because there is nothing to keep them happy and develop their talents. What adds to their pain is that their parents do not care about them. I have tried by all means to unite the youth. Instead I have been called a rebellious person. Concerned Youth NQABENI

Thank you for your letter and kind words about the magazine. We have sent you information about selling the magazine. Maybe you should write to the Association for Rural Advancement. They work with people in rural areas and maybe they will have some ideas about how you can make Nqabeni a better place. Their address is: AFRA 170 Berg St Pietermaritzburg 3201, Tel:(0331) 5-7607


Dear Learn and Teach, I passed my matric last year with a D aggregate and I would like to be a trade union organiser. I would like to work for COSATU, CCAWUSA, SADWU or any other trade union. As a young man who loves his country, I am not prepared to join forces like the SAP because they spread evil and bring poverty and corruption to many people’s lives. Robert CULLINAN

Thank you for your letter, Robert. If one of the readers knows of a job for Robert, please contact Learn and Teach. In the meantime, Robert try to read the New Nation, Weekly Mail and Vrye Weekblad because they often carry advertis­ments for jobs In the unions and other organisa­tions. Good luck!


Dear Learn and Teach, I am looking for the Zaza family. Since my grandfa­ther, Peter Zaza, died I have not seen one member of my family. If anyone knows where they are, please write to me. Mr Section Mpho Zaza 6179 Moloi St Thokoza 1421


Dear Learn and Teach, I am looking for my wife’s mother. Her name is Nombentsha Harriet Mbanga. My wife’s name is Nobelungu Mbanga. She has not seen her mother since 1960 in Evaton. We heard that her mother is living in Vereeniging. We are also looking for David Mbanga or Nonceba Mbanga. Please will anyone with information about these people, contact me. Mr M. Tshaka PO Box 302 Khayalitsha 7784


Dear Learn and Teach, I am 17 years old and I am looking for my mother, who is 33 years old. We were living together at my grandmother’s house until she disappeared in July 1989. When she left, she said she was going to visit her grandmother in Tembisa but she never arrived there. Please help us as we are very worried. If any­one knows anything about her, please contact me. Henry Radebe 10232 Malimela St Kwa-Thema 1563


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a freedom loving man from Ntuzuma. I would like to ask people at Learn and Teach to translate the magazine from English to Zulu because most Zulu ­speaking people in Ntuzuma cannot read English. This means that they cannot get knowledge. The only thing they know is what some people say -and sometimes they say things which are not true. That is why, I think, there is so much violence in Natal. Maybe if you translate your magazine into Zulu, they can understand what is going on in this country. They can stop killing each other. Tribalism is a disease. W.Cele NTUZUMA

Thank you very much for your letter. We would love to translate Learn and Teach into Zulu ­and other African languages. But it is very expensive and we do not have the money to do it. Some people and organisations do translate the magazine into other languages, and we are very happy for them to do so.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a 20 year old student studying at the University of the Western Cape and I am a stern admirer of your magazine. I was quite fascinated by the way you portrayed the happenings in Namibia as well as your dedication to SWAPO in your fourth edition of this year. It was also in this edition that I saw your advertisement asking people to sell Learn and Teach in their areas. As a freedom fighter for democracy and equality, I can guarantee that I shall make it my duty to give a helping hand to the struggle to bring about change by selling your magazine. I was also quite impressed by the simplicity in which the articles were given hence enabling the magazine to draw a larger audience than other magazines. I am quite certain that your magazine can be used as an edu­cational medium to inform those who are misin­formed or uninformed. We live in exciting times. Lindsay van der Berg PAARL

Thank you very much for your letter, Lindsay. We are very happy to hear the nice things you say about Learn and Teach. We have sent you details about selling our magazine in your area.


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