Bolton Hall is a block of flats in Killarney, Johannesburg.
In September, this year, the owner of Bolton Hall made a new rule. He said: “Domestic workers at Bolton Hall cannot have visitors after 6 o’clock at night.’
The domestic workers at Bolton Hall were unhappy.
They were unhappy because the owner said that all their visitors must leave before 6 o’clock at night.
So they had a meeting. They decided to stop working. They said: ”We won’t work if we can’t have visitors after 6 o’clock at night.”
The domestic workers spoke to their employers. They told their employers what they decided.
The employers went to the owner of Bolton Hall. They said: “Our domestic workers decided to stop working. They want visitors after 6 o’clock at night.”
Then the owner said: “Domestic workers can have visitors until 9 o’clock at night.”
Mrs Mokoena has worked at Bolton Hall since 1964. She is 56 years old.
Learn and Teach spoke to Mrs Mokwena. She told Learn and Teach:
” I had no visitors before the owner changed the time. My friends all work until 6 o’clock. They cannot come and visit me before 6 o’clock. Now I am happy because I can have visitors.
“But I still have a problem. My room is very small. And another domestic worker sleeps in the room with me. I told my employer about this problem. He said he would try to help me.”
Mrs Khumalo is also a domestic worker at Bolton Hall. She told Learn and Teach:
“Before, our visitors had to go at 6 o’clock. But we decided to stop working. We stood together and we won.
“Now our visitors can stay another three hours. At 9 every night the watchman knocks at my door. He says that my visitors must leave.
” I do not like this, but 9 o’clock is better than 6 o’clock .”
Mrs Khumalo showed us her room. It is very small. Another domestic worker shares the room with her.
She said: “I cannot live a proper life in such a small room.”
Learn and Teach spoke to the owner of Bolton Hall, Mr Chimes.
He said: “Sometimes thieves break into the flats or they attack people in the lift. So we must be careful. We cannot let lots of people came into the building at night.
But I am sorry about what I did. I was wrong to say that domestic workers cannot have visitors after 6 o’clock.”
Life is still hard for the domestic workers at Bolton Hall.
Their visitors must leave at 9 o’clock.
Their rooms are very small.
They share their rooms with other people.
But they hope that these problems will end one day.
In the meantime, they are happy about their small win.