‘We don’t know freedom here’

2015-05-01 17:31
PHOTO: ntuntu dweba

Mvuselelo Dosa, Albert Hlukuhla, Zwelitsha Mfukuli drink ‘vanya’ a traditional home-made beer to forget their poverty.

PHOTO: ntuntu dweba Mvuselelo Dosa, Albert Hlukuhla, Zwelitsha Mfukuli drink ‘vanya’ a traditional home-made beer to forget their poverty.

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IT is 21 years since the dawn of freedom and democracy, but farm workers in and around Kokstad still live in poverty, with some even going for days without food.

When the Fever visited Silver Oaks, a farm between Franklin and Kokstad on Freedom Day, 56 year old Albertina Dosa was preparing dinner - a pumpkin - their first meal of the day.

“I don’t feel any freedom when I am this poor, nothing has changed for us here, instead life has gone from bad to worse. We live in mud houses which may fall at any time,” she said.

Dosa grew up on the farm.

“I have always lived here, I got married here, there were no houses, water, electricity, nothing has changed since then. We have voted since the first democratic election in 1994, but nothing is done for us.”

The Dosa family are forced to sleep on blankets on the floor because they don’t have beds.

Most of the people in Silver Oaks are uneducated, orphaned or unemployed.

What also triggered more poverty­ was the death of a farmer who employed many of the young people.

Ntombikhona Mfukuli (33), who lives on the farm, said things got worse when they lost their job.

“We were working at a neighbouring farm, but we lost our jobs when our boss died. We are not educated and have young children so its really hard for us to get work,” Mfukuli said.

She said they only get grant money for some of their children. “We live on these grants which are not even enough for food, let alone clothes and uniforms for the children, and what’s worse is we have to share whatever food we buy with everyone here because some don’t have any income.”

“Our children walk 15 kilometres to school, there is no pupil transport. Its like the government has forgotten us.”

The men at the farm drown their sorrows with alcohol. Zwelitsha Mfukuli (42) said they spend most of their days drinking vanya a traditional home-brewed beer.

“We have to drink because we live in the condition you see here. How can you not drink when you keep thinking what the next meal for your family is going to be?

“We don’t want to think about all of those things that why we choose to drink alcohol,” he said

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