Perseverence is ever rewarded

2017-05-18 06:01
opinionThembile Ndabeni

opinionThembile Ndabeni

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Africans were blessed with the most important facets in life; Ubuntu, tolerance and diligence.

It is because of our love for fellow human beings, that we welcomed strangers among us, who later turned betrayed us; becoming our colonizers.

We are a very tolerant national group. We also persevere even if prospects on the other side of the mountain do not promise much.

When even pessimism is the dominant factor, we persevere.

We are coming in from the cold, under different kinds of exploitation and oppression.

From colonialism to apartheid; from a superficial position, no one will understand how Africans went through these systems. Colonialism affected all Black people in the same manner as Apartheid did. Apartheid was another form of colonialism. Under Apartheid, triple oppression was very much clear but this doesn’t suggest colonialism was better.

As much as class is not a colour affair but the fact that Africans suffered exploitation more than other workers is indisputable.

The Black working class was exploited and subjugated, degraded and without representation.

The third oppression is gender based, including women in other national groups, where gender oppression meant not to be given equal rights to men.

But with the African woman it was worst.

The passbook was used as a tool to alienate them from their husbands.

Husband had to leave homes as migrant labourers to work in the cities. This was after their life-style was harshly changed by colonialism through land dispossession.

They lost most of the productive lands, and were left with small arable land.

Black women were not allowed in the cities. Those in the cities did not have rights and could not be employed. Even those born and bred in the cities did not have full rights like other national groups.

What did they do to earn living, go and beg on the street? No!

Not all men were employable, because of their political activism or enlightment.

Which explains why employers sought out migrant labourers.

Some of the city dwellers who were unemployable resorted to selling fruit and vegetables to eke out a living and feed their families.

Some became outfit salesmen instead of becoming beggars.

Some of their women would sell second-hand clothing to supplement their husband’s meagre earnings.

Selling of tripe, offal, skaapkop and so on became the order of the day.

Some dabbled in selling mealies and sheep wool to survive. Others visited dump sites to recycle unwanted wares like pail and paint buckets, clean them and resell them.

There were no government grants then, but people didn't go to the streets to beg.

Why, if the conditions are much better now than in the past, do our people become beggars then.

When I see an African woman begging, it is unacceptable to me. It’s not about whether she has children to support or not but the fact that her age automatically qualifies her for grant, and her grandchildren as well.

There are women in the townships who sell different things in order to supplement the grant.

Begging by healthy people is more about laziness and irresponsibility, and not African at all! It’s worse with men. Men must work!

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