I am a "wekker". I wake up every morning before the sun rises. Every day, summer and winter. When I wake up, I try to not to awaken my children and wife who sleep in the same room as me. It is my duty to light the fire in the morning so that my family can have hot water, not to bathe in, but to have some hot tea, and so that I can wash my body before I go to wek.
It is early, and I can hear feint sounds of the movement of the people who sleep in the shack next door. I can also begin to smell the fires that are carried by the smoke of the people who are also beginning to light their fires. It is the way we live. My wife begins to awaken as the water begins to get warm. She is tired from the labours of the day before, having to travel a long way to wek, then having to clean the madam's house, and then travel a long way home. Then she must talk to the children, and hear their stories, cook the meal for the family, and finally go to bed. She is a good mother. She still manages to pull her body out of the mattress on the floor, and move slowly to the stove.
We have done this many times. Almost every day.
Many years ago, we had hoped that we would not have to do this forever. But now it seems things only get worse. No matter how hard we work, the money we earn, though more, cannot buy the things we need. I earn R 2,900 and Sophie, my wife earns, R 2, 500 per month. When we had our first child, we would have thought that this was a lot of money, but now, it is not enough. Every day it cost us R 22 each to get to work and back. Every week, it costs us R 204 just to get to work. My boss and the madam don't understand this. We have little money to buy food, rent, education, clothes and luxuries like fuel for the fire, soap and books for the children.
In 1994, we thought that having a black government would create jobs and opportunities for us. There was talk of black economic empowerment, of upliftment, but we were poor then, and we are poor now, although not as poor as some of our neighbours. There was talk of being shareholders in big companies, but we don't know where those shares went to. One of the men in my area was very lucky. He got a job in the municipality, because his uncle was in the ANC, and he now lives in an RDP house in Cosmo City.
Each day I think, perhaps things will be different if I work harder. So I work hard every day.
It is hard for me and Sophie. We do not understand how some black people became so rich when they didn't have to work harder. Why can't we share all the money? My white boss tells me it is because of black economic empowerment. But why did I not get any money?
I cannot understand.
Did the ANC lie about black economic empowerment? How is it that for me, nothing has changes and has only got worse?
I am a wekker. I wek hard every day, but wek gets harder and harder.
I am also angry, and my anger gets stronger and stronger. But who should I be angry with?
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