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South African Conversations sample articles

Insight into who we are as a people. Empowering, practical information. A platform for people who are otherwise voiceless. Suggestions for action by individuals, families, concerned onlookers, businesses and policy-makers to help create a better world for all of us. The South African Conversations magazine is a source of practical, solutions-oriented information. It empowers individuals, families and communities, raises awareness about the lived reality of people who are marginalised, and suggests options for action by concerned onlookers, businesses and policy-makers. The magazine is for sale exclusively by unemployed people who earn 50% of the cover price. Our distribution network is through NPOs across South Africa. These Distribution Hubs earn 17% of the cover price for supplying magazines to sellers and negotiating safe sales spaces for them in places with high levels of affluent foot traffic. Enjoy these sample articles and look for opportunities sprinkled throughout to collaborate with us.

Insight into who we are as a people. Empowering, practical information. A platform for people who are otherwise voiceless. Suggestions for action by individuals, families, concerned onlookers, businesses and policy-makers to help create a better world for all of us.
The South African Conversations magazine is a source of practical, solutions-oriented information. It empowers individuals, families and communities, raises awareness about the lived reality of people who are marginalised, and suggests options for action by concerned onlookers, businesses and policy-makers.

The magazine is for sale exclusively by unemployed people who earn 50% of the cover price. Our distribution network is through NPOs across South Africa. These Distribution Hubs earn 17% of the cover price for supplying magazines to sellers and negotiating safe sales spaces for them in places with high levels of affluent foot traffic.

Enjoy these sample articles and look for opportunities sprinkled throughout to collaborate with us.

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southafrican<br />

CONVERSATiONS<br />

Challenging the divide<br />

SAMPLE<br />

ARTICLES<br />

R50<br />

(incl. VAT)<br />

R25 goes to the seller<br />

WIN a Book<br />

Here’s what<br />

we can do<br />

as individuals,<br />

families, communities<br />

and businesses<br />

to create the<br />

kind of world<br />

we all want<br />

to live in.<br />

Samples of the kind of content you’ll find in the <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> <strong>Conversations</strong> magazine<br />

From <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s to <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s. A thought-provoking read about the stuff<br />

no-one talks about ... along with practical solutions towards a better <strong>South</strong> Africa.


Help create ‘jobs’ in your<br />

community ... and make<br />

money for your NPO.<br />

NPOs that supply magazines to unemployed people and negotiate safe sales<br />

spaces for them at affluent venues earn 20% of the cover price.<br />

Sellers earn 50% of the cover price.<br />

BUSINESS<br />

IN-A-BOX<br />

100% profit for sellers.<br />

Income and zero<br />

cost for NPOs.<br />

Sign up<br />

today!<br />

southafricanCONVERSATiONS<br />

Challenging the divide<br />

www.southafricanconversations.co.za/magazine


<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong><br />

<strong>Conversations</strong> is a majority<br />

Black-owned, social<br />

entrepreneurial enterprise<br />

on a mission to ease<br />

the suffering caused by<br />

unemployment, poverty and<br />

marginalisation.<br />

Our Vision<br />

• A world free from poverty,<br />

discrimination and socioeconomic<br />

inequality.<br />

• A world in which we, as<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s, respectfully<br />

see ‘that of God’* in each<br />

other.<br />

• A world in which even the<br />

‘least among us’ are visible,<br />

able to sustain themselves<br />

and access information and<br />

opportunities that allow<br />

their full participation in<br />

society.<br />

* Walk cheerfully over the<br />

earth, answering that of God in<br />

everyone. – A Quaker saying<br />

Our Key Initiatives<br />

• Community <strong>Conversations</strong>.<br />

A platform for marginalised<br />

voices.<br />

• A monthly, printed<br />

magazine. Solutions-based<br />

journalism.<br />

• A Resource Directory. A<br />

printed toolbox of useful<br />

information & resources.<br />

All three initiatives offer<br />

opportunities for skilled and<br />

unskilled <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

to generate income for<br />

themselves.<br />

talk.to.us@southafrican<br />

conversations.co.za<br />

t. 021 300 0547<br />

southafrican<br />

CONVERSATiONS<br />

SAMPLE CONTENT<br />

5 Why print in the age of the Internet?<br />

6 Our Rainbow Nation<br />

10 The Plight of Our Students<br />

12 Child Headed Households<br />

13 Preparing for Your Death<br />

15 How to Start a Food Garden<br />

16 Edible Weeds & Wild Plants<br />

20 The Cultural Context of Greetings<br />

22 How About Learning My Language?<br />

24 The Rubbish Bin Scavengers<br />

28 Everything You Need to Know About<br />

Recycling<br />

32 Because My Mouth is Wide with Laughter ...<br />

33 Maids & Madams: Know Your Rights ... And<br />

Obligations<br />

34 Respect for Life Starts with Respect for All<br />

Living Things<br />

34 The Frightening Link Between Animal Abuse<br />

and Human Violence<br />

36 Crisis Pregnancy: What are the Options?<br />

38 Grandmothers Holding Families Together<br />

All Over <strong>South</strong> Africa<br />

40 Dictionary<br />

3


I TAKE<br />

THE PLEDGE!<br />

TO NEVER<br />

USE MY HANDS OR MY WORDS<br />

TO HURT ANYONE ... IN REAL LIFE<br />

OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA.<br />

TO NEVER REMAIN SILENT<br />

ABOUT ANY FORM OF VIOLENCE<br />

OR DISCRIMINATION.<br />

Photo | Womanizer-Unsplash<br />

TO STOP AND THINK<br />

BEFORE I DO, SAY OR POST ANYTHING<br />

THAT COULD HURT ANYONE<br />

BECAUSE I KNOW HOW VULNERABLE<br />

WE ALL ARE.<br />

Buy the poster at www.southafricanconversations.co.za/shop


:<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content 5<br />

Printing is on the decline<br />

the world over as a direct<br />

result of the accessibility of<br />

information on the Internet.<br />

Those who can afford it and<br />

know how to navigate their<br />

way around the World Wide<br />

Web have unfettered access<br />

to this vast and liberating<br />

storehouse of knowledge<br />

and information – giving<br />

them a distinct advantage<br />

when it comes to exploring<br />

opportunities, developing<br />

their potential and finding<br />

solutions to problems.<br />

But there’s a problem: over<br />

16 million <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

don’t use the internet at all,<br />

and the majority of those<br />

who do only have access at<br />

work, malls and cafés, with<br />

limited access to free sites<br />

and social media platforms<br />

at home.<br />

This discrepancy is primarily<br />

caused by poor or no<br />

reception, intermittent or no<br />

electricity, and the high cost<br />

of data.<br />

Even if we achieved<br />

100% accessible internet<br />

coverage, cultural isolation<br />

and a lack of knowledge<br />

on how to search for<br />

information online would<br />

remain significant barriers<br />

to achieving equal access to<br />

information.<br />

Besides, solutions to<br />

problems experienced by<br />

poor people are fragmented<br />

and not easily accessible –<br />

even online.<br />

Consequently, many<br />

marginalised people are<br />

oblivious to the help,<br />

services, solutions and<br />

options available to them.<br />

As the world’s knowledge<br />

increasingly moves online,<br />

access to information<br />

will become the biggest<br />

obstacle to equality and<br />

development in <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa.<br />

That’s why we print.<br />

Another reason why we<br />

print is that our magazine<br />

is an important source<br />

of income generation for<br />

unemployed people, and<br />

for the NPOs that supply<br />

magazines for them to sell.<br />

If you’d like to know more<br />

about this initiative, watch<br />

this short movie.<br />

But make no mistake: all of<br />

our publications speak to all<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s: those who<br />

are struggling, as well as<br />

those who aspire to make a<br />

difference, including<br />

businesses and policymakers.<br />

Knowledge has power.<br />

It controls access to opportunity and advancement.<br />

– Peter Drucker<br />

Join us in our mission to<br />

bridge the growing divide<br />

between those who have<br />

access to information and<br />

opportunities, and those<br />

who do not.<br />

We offer many<br />

opportunities for mutuallybeneficial<br />

collaboration.<br />

Theresa Muller<br />

talk.to.us@<br />

southafricanconversations.<br />

co.za or call us on<br />

0860 333 034<br />

why print in the age of the Internet?


6<br />

Our nation<br />

rainbow<br />

None of us are the stereotypes described here, yet most of us will recognise a bit of ourselves somewhere on these pages.<br />

Older generation<br />

returned expatriates<br />

They are mostly Black, Indian and<br />

Coloured: former freedom fighters<br />

and returned political exiles.<br />

They are worldly, experienced and<br />

sophisticated – even if not formally<br />

educated.<br />

They are politicised and angry about<br />

white entitlement, bigotry, racism,<br />

condescension and lack of knowledge<br />

about the rest of society.<br />

They are intimately familiar with the<br />

plight of marginalised people.<br />

The international generation<br />

They are the children of mostly Black<br />

former political exiles or they grew<br />

up, normally, in affluent areas in postapartheid<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

They are sassy, well-educated, well-read<br />

and often well-travelled.<br />

They are at ease engaging outside familiar<br />

racial and cultural boundaries and have<br />

diverse social circles.<br />

Many are leaving <strong>South</strong> Africa because of<br />

frustration with crime and discrimination,<br />

Photo: Henri Meilhac<br />

and in pursuit of better economic<br />

opportunities.<br />

They are annoyed by white condescension<br />

and the automatic assumption that being<br />

Black equates to poverty and lack of<br />

education.<br />

They may not understand the true depth<br />

of the plight of marginalised people in<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa, because they did not<br />

grow up in it.<br />

They are annoyed by the<br />

automatic assumption that<br />

Black equates poverty and<br />

lack of education.<br />

Those who stayed behind,<br />

but got educated in spite<br />

of apartheid<br />

Black professionals – the lucky few who<br />

made up apartheid’s quota of Black people<br />

who were allowed to get an education.<br />

They are intimately familiar with the plight<br />

of their own people.<br />

Most are supporting extended,<br />

marginalised families.<br />

Many are involved with volunteer work<br />

trying to make a difference through faithbased<br />

or community-based organisations.<br />

They are not necessarily politicised, are<br />

often accepting of the status quo and are<br />

eager to fit in with White people at work or<br />

church – not considering the loss of their<br />

own cultural identity in this process.<br />

Despite their qualifications, there is a self-


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

7<br />

imposed and historically imposed<br />

‘glass ceiling’ beyond which<br />

many find it difficult to move –<br />

especially in the presence of<br />

White professionals.<br />

the government – because of its<br />

promises – and especially White<br />

people – because of the history<br />

of apartheid and because White<br />

people are perceived as being<br />

rich.<br />

Educated, young people<br />

of colour who were<br />

raised in <strong>South</strong> Africa<br />

They are the new generation of<br />

young people who have had<br />

access to education and other<br />

post-apartheid opportunities.<br />

Many of them rose out of terrible<br />

disadvantage to achieve their<br />

ambitions.<br />

They are intimately familiar with the<br />

plight of their own people and most<br />

are supporting extended families.<br />

They are positive, hopeful and want<br />

to help make a difference.<br />

Even if not completely at ease, they<br />

are eager to engage outside familiar<br />

racial and cultural boundaries –<br />

often at a loss of their own<br />

cultural identity.<br />

They are often not treated as<br />

professional equals by Whites<br />

in the workplace.<br />

They are often not<br />

treated as professional<br />

equals by Whites in the<br />

workplace.<br />

Emerging historically<br />

disadvantaged<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

They are mostly Black, skilled bluecollar<br />

workers and artisans, new to<br />

the <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> workforce.<br />

They often struggle to make ends<br />

meet. A large proportion of their<br />

salaries are for family maintenance<br />

responsibilities. Many are<br />

supporting extended families.<br />

They are very familiar with limited<br />

access to services.<br />

They are frustrated with unfulfilled<br />

promises made by NGOs and<br />

government departments.<br />

They are intimately familiar with the<br />

complex challenges faced by Black<br />

communities.<br />

They are willing to contribute in any<br />

way possible to help make things<br />

better for their people.<br />

On the whole, they have little<br />

decision-making power in the<br />

world of work.<br />

They want to move away from what<br />

has held them back in the past …<br />

desperately trying to hide the other<br />

reality in their lives: the reality not<br />

known or shared by White people.<br />

They often spend disproportionate<br />

amounts of money on clothes,<br />

shoes, handbags, jewellery,<br />

accessories and cars to keep<br />

up appearances.<br />

They sometimes have a sense<br />

of entitlement, a culture of ‘the<br />

world owes me.’ That world is<br />

Marginalised<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

The millions of poor <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

who live lives of quiet desperation<br />

– who have given up hope of ever<br />

bridging the widening rift between<br />

rich and poor, educated and<br />

uneducated in <strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

They are mostly Black and coloured,<br />

though increasing numbers of<br />

White people are becoming<br />

marginalised.<br />

They are people of all ages in<br />

positions of domestic responsibility<br />

– including orphans left to fend for<br />

themselves and their siblings.<br />

They are unemployed or employed<br />

in menial jobs, homeless or living in<br />

poverty in townships, city centres,<br />

abandoned buildings, building sites,<br />

informal settlements and rural<br />

areas.<br />

They are affected by all the social<br />

ills associated with poverty and<br />

marginalisation, such as alcohol<br />

and substance abuse, illiteracy,<br />

malnutrition, prostitution and<br />

neglect.<br />

They have little access to<br />

information and are often unaware<br />

of the extent of social programming<br />

Photo: Jan Truter | flickr


8<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

Charisse Kenion<br />

initiatives and other support<br />

services available to them.<br />

They are unable to participate in<br />

the formal economy for a variety of<br />

reasons, such as lack of education,<br />

lack of skills, transportation,<br />

money, confidence, know-how<br />

and, simply, lack of precedent.<br />

Ill health, disability and old age<br />

may also prevent them from active<br />

participation.<br />

They are frustrated, sceptical and<br />

wary because of what they perceive<br />

as unfulfilled development promises<br />

made by the government.<br />

They believe that the government<br />

doesn’t care about them.<br />

They are illiterate, semi-literate or<br />

literate, and mostly uneducated.<br />

They have little disposable income<br />

and few prospects.<br />

Many are without hope.<br />

The takers<br />

People who have become wealthy<br />

by questionable means. They are<br />

more concerned with what they<br />

can take from the system than<br />

what they can give to it. There is<br />

little regard for ethics or culture.<br />

They behave ostentatiously and<br />

often spend exorbitant amounts of<br />

money on booze and bling. Making<br />

money seems to be a game of how<br />

best to cheat the system, not of<br />

hard work and integrity.<br />

Old-school historically<br />

advantaged people<br />

Mostly White <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s who<br />

believe, deep down, that the ending<br />

of apartheid was a mistake.<br />

They used to blame the victims of<br />

poverty for lack of incentive, lack of<br />

willpower, laziness, stupidity and all<br />

the stereotypes that are attached<br />

to people who are marginalised<br />

– until their own joined the ranks<br />

of the poor. Now they blame the<br />

government.<br />

They see no connection between<br />

crime and the fact that economic<br />

inequality is higher in <strong>South</strong> Africa<br />

than anywhere else in the world.<br />

They believe in their intrinsic<br />

intellectual superiority and they look<br />

down on other races. They believe<br />

that they earned what they have<br />

because of their hard work and<br />

contributions to the world.<br />

They rarely consider the enormous<br />

benefit and advantage bestowed<br />

upon them and their families by<br />

the years of white affirmative action<br />

during apartheid.<br />

They have access to quality<br />

employment, health care, services,<br />

information and opportunities.<br />

Their jobs are protected by a circle<br />

of their own: like-minded family,<br />

friends and colleagues.<br />

They live lives of privilege and<br />

entitlement. They have stereotypical<br />

ideas of what Black people are like<br />

and expect Blacks who want to<br />

associate with them to conform to<br />

their norms of behaviour, dress,<br />

speech and culture.<br />

They would find it inconceivable<br />

to visit a township, let alone an<br />

informal settlement and believe,<br />

on some level, that people who live<br />

in poverty deserve what they get,<br />

because of their inability to rise<br />

above their circumstances.<br />

They see no connection between<br />

the policies of the past and Black<br />

poverty now. They want Black<br />

people to ‘move on’ because<br />

apartheid is over, after all.<br />

They see no connection between<br />

the low and discriminatory wages<br />

they pay the people who support<br />

them in maintaining their lifestyle,<br />

and the difficulties those people<br />

experience in rising above their<br />

circumstances.<br />

They are negatively critical of the<br />

government and regard many of its<br />

policies as unfair, ill-advised assaults<br />

on their way of life.<br />

They and their children are negative<br />

about prospects in <strong>South</strong> Africa and<br />

invariably believe that the situation<br />

is hopeless. Leaving the country is<br />

perpetually an option.<br />

Liberal historically<br />

advantaged people<br />

White <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s who believe<br />

that apartheid was an iniquity that<br />

marred our economic development,<br />

scarred a lot of people, divided a<br />

nation, and left us with horrible<br />

problems.


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

9<br />

They are saddened by the past and<br />

want to see our country change<br />

and heal.<br />

They are mostly educated and<br />

have access to quality employment,<br />

health care, ample services and<br />

information, and participate actively<br />

in the formal economy.<br />

They may be affluent or not, but<br />

they live lives of relative privilege<br />

because they know no other way<br />

of living.<br />

They mix freely with educated<br />

people of colour who fit into their<br />

socio-economic group. Yet, they are<br />

mostly unaware of what life is like<br />

for those who are truly marginalised<br />

as a result of the racial policies of<br />

the past.<br />

They are critical, but positive about<br />

prospects in <strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

They would like to help make a<br />

difference – but they are unsure<br />

about how to get involved beyond<br />

mixing with people of colour who<br />

fit into their world.<br />

Historically advantaged<br />

blue-collar <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

White blue-collar workers and<br />

artisans who took for granted the<br />

affirmative protections afforded<br />

them by apartheid, who now have<br />

to compete for jobs and services<br />

against people who were previously<br />

excluded from meaningful<br />

participation in the formal economy.<br />

Many struggle to make ends meet.<br />

A large proportion of their salaries<br />

go towards family responsibilities.<br />

Many, but not all, are now<br />

supporting unemployed members<br />

of their family.<br />

Many are resentful of Black people<br />

taking ‘their’ jobs.<br />

They still have a say at their<br />

places of work because of the<br />

ease of interaction in a world still<br />

dominated by unspoken white<br />

rules.<br />

Photo: William Krause<br />

Kind White people who<br />

never questioned the<br />

status quo<br />

White <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s who were<br />

born into apartheid but didn’t<br />

necessarily consider themselves<br />

superior – just different. They never<br />

questioned why Black people live in<br />

poverty on one side of town, while<br />

White people lived in decent houses<br />

and sent their children to school on<br />

the other side of town. They never<br />

made the connection between the<br />

policies of apartheid and the way<br />

things were. They have a hard time<br />

redefining themselves and making<br />

sense of the guilt that comes<br />

with awareness of what has really<br />

happened here.<br />

The unclassifiables<br />

A large group of <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

(and foreigners) that transcends<br />

stereotypical categories.<br />

This group is comprised of people<br />

from all economic and racial<br />

backgrounds … ordinary people<br />

who believe that a better world<br />

is possible. Many are involved<br />

in social transformation work<br />

… in government departments,<br />

international and local aid<br />

organisations and charities,<br />

and in community and faithbased<br />

projects.<br />

Also in this group, are many of the<br />

younger generation who have had<br />

the privilege of discovering the<br />

common humanity of people from<br />

all races with whom they went<br />

to school.<br />

They don’t know about the pain and<br />

division caused by apartheid and<br />

they frankly don’t care. They just<br />

want to get on with their lives and<br />

participate in a world that works.<br />

They don’t want to be punished<br />

for the sins of their fathers or be<br />

branded by their labels.<br />

Many have had the privilege of discovering the<br />

common humanity of people from all races.<br />

Photo: Zachary Nelson


10<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

The plight of our student’s<br />

Growing up we were told<br />

that it’s only lazy people who<br />

become failures in life. Any<br />

form of failure was attributed<br />

to a lack of discipline and<br />

willpower or low intelligence.<br />

But during my time at<br />

university, I saw and<br />

experienced a different reality.<br />

I lived far away and it took<br />

me at least two hours every<br />

morning to get to campus, by<br />

taxi. By the time I arrived, I was<br />

tired and in desperate need of<br />

rest or food or both. I lived so<br />

far from campus because<br />

accommodation close to<br />

campus was very<br />

expensive, and the<br />

available and more<br />

affordable places were<br />

rowdy, overcrowded and<br />

uninhabitable. So, like<br />

many others, I opted to<br />

live with relatives closest<br />

to campus.<br />

Another ramification<br />

of the distance I lived<br />

from campus was that I<br />

invariably had to leave<br />

halfway through the<br />

last lecture of the<br />

day to catch the last<br />

taxi home. Thank<br />

goodness I had a<br />

laptop otherwise I<br />

would have had to<br />

spend lunch breaks<br />

typing my assignments at the<br />

crowded computer labs, and have<br />

to leave home as early as 4 am to<br />

get some Internet usage before<br />

classes started. I know many<br />

students who do exactly that.<br />

Student dropout rates in <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa are alarmingly high:<br />

between 50 to 60% among firstand<br />

second-year students. The<br />

majority of these students cite<br />

financial problems as the reason<br />

for dropping out. But it is not just<br />

money ... Here is the story of a<br />

friend of mine, Pule (not his real<br />

name), that offers a glimpse at<br />

the complex challenges faced by<br />

those who drop out.<br />

Pule came to Johannesburg<br />

from a small town in the Free<br />

State. He never knew his father,<br />

and his mother was a domestic<br />

worker. Even so, Pule’s matric<br />

results qualified him for university<br />

entrance and he managed to<br />

get some financial aid, but not<br />

enough for accommodation on<br />

or off-campus.<br />

He ended up living with one of<br />

his aunts about 35 km away for<br />

the duration of his studies. This<br />

meant that he had to get up at<br />

4 am every morning to iron the<br />

clothes he washed a night or<br />

two before, make breakfast and<br />

sandwiches for lunch, and walk<br />

20 minutes to where he could<br />

catch a taxi. The commute to the<br />

city routinely took as long as two<br />

hours, and sometimes longer if<br />

the taxi waited to fill up before it<br />

would leave. If there were<br />

no delays, Pule would arrive<br />

on campus around 7:30 am —<br />

perpetually exhausted and under<br />

pressure to perform academically,<br />

so that he could hopefully qualify<br />

for a scholarship. Some days,<br />

especially towards the end of the<br />

month, Pule would arrive hungry,<br />

because there was very little to<br />

eat at his aunt’s house.<br />

by Andrew Tlou<br />

Photo | Shunya<br />

Koide | Unsplash


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11<br />

On the other side of town, another friend,<br />

Joe (not his real name), would wake up<br />

around 6 am, grab an energy bar and head<br />

to the gym in the comfort of the nippy<br />

little car his parents bought for him when<br />

he matriculated. After gym he would head<br />

home for a tasty and nutritious breakfast,<br />

a shower and something nice to wear from<br />

the neatly ironed brand-name clothes in his<br />

wardrobe. He would leave home around<br />

7.30 am to get to the first class of the day<br />

— on time and with no worries or stress<br />

other than having to navigate the traffic<br />

to campus. On the passenger seat would<br />

be a lunch box filled with delicious brain<br />

food which he often took home, unopened,<br />

because he went out for lunch with his<br />

friends, instead.<br />

Pule often skipped lunch so that he could<br />

use the library and its Internet facility<br />

during the day. Sometimes he had to<br />

choose between the library and a lecture<br />

because there was always the possibility of<br />

missing the last taxi home.<br />

Joe could stay at the library as long as he<br />

wanted … or go home to access the Internet<br />

at home at any hour of the day or night.<br />

He had never experienced real hunger,<br />

because there was always money in his<br />

pocket to buy something, somewhere.<br />

Joe’s parents were not only able to back him<br />

financially, but they were also emotionally<br />

available to provide support, love and<br />

companionship.<br />

Pule’s aunt, on the other hand, resented<br />

the extra mouth to feed, and continuously<br />

reminded Pule not to think that he’s better<br />

than the rest of the family because he goes<br />

to university.<br />

Pule retreated to the room he shared with<br />

two cousins as soon as he arrived home.<br />

He worked on a corner of his bed until<br />

someone would call him to come and eat.<br />

Or not.<br />

Life<br />

is<br />

a<br />

dream<br />

for<br />

the<br />

wise,<br />

a<br />

game<br />

for<br />

the<br />

fool,<br />

a<br />

comedy<br />

for<br />

the<br />

rich,<br />

a<br />

tragedy<br />

for<br />

the<br />

poor.<br />

– Sholom<br />

Aleichem<br />

There was no Internet and<br />

sometimes, towards the end of<br />

the month, no electricity. There<br />

were other, gnawing stresses, too.<br />

Like his deteriorating eyesight,<br />

his malfunctioning second-hand<br />

laptop ...<br />

Both friends eventually graduated.<br />

It took both one year longer. Pule<br />

because he had to stop at the end<br />

of his second year to earn some<br />

money. Joe, because he changed<br />

his mind about his area of study.<br />

Students from less privileged<br />

backgrounds are often chided for<br />

their “lack of commitment”. Yet<br />

few of those who do the chiding<br />

realise the burdens, stresses and<br />

difficulties that many of these<br />

students carry alone.<br />

Pule’s situation was not as bad<br />

as some of the students I met<br />

who were ‘living’ in libraries or<br />

anywhere they could find shelter<br />

on campus.<br />

I also witnessed some heartbreaking<br />

situations where bright,<br />

capable students were refused<br />

permission to continue unless<br />

outstanding fees were paid.<br />

Poverty has many spill-over<br />

effects. Many students are<br />

excluded from re-enrollment<br />

because of poor academic<br />

performance. Academic exclusion,<br />

in most cases, is final and no<br />

one cares to hear about the<br />

circumstances that lead to such an<br />

unfavourable assessment. n


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Photo: John Prere<br />

“My father passed away when Thabo was two. I was nine. I didn’t mind that he<br />

died, because we didn’t see him very much. But when I was older I saw that it was<br />

because of him that we always had food and things, which we didn’t have after he<br />

died. I mean, we had food. But not so much meat. My mother planted mealies and<br />

morogo and we had the cow, so we had milk. My mother started working for the<br />

farmer with the big house. She worked in the fields. She would leave when it was<br />

still dark and come home when it was dark. And she became so thin. So thin. And<br />

weak. And then she couldn’t work any more. She got the sickness. So, I left school<br />

to take care of her and Bongani left school to take her place at the farm. Only<br />

Tshepo and Jabu are at school now. I know she is going to die. My mother. I will be<br />

the father then because I am the oldest. I am fourteen years.” – Albert


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What would I do if I were Albert?<br />

By Moshe Lecheko<br />

If my parents were dying or had<br />

died and I was the oldest of<br />

four siblings, I would have the<br />

responsibility of looking after the<br />

family when my parents are gone.<br />

If it were me, here’s what I’d do:<br />

I would start by talking with the<br />

counsellors in my community.<br />

They will know what resources<br />

are available and will tell me<br />

how to contact these.<br />

I would talk with the people at<br />

the clinic to find out of there<br />

is anything we need to do. For<br />

instance, we may need to get<br />

ourselves tested for HIV.<br />

I would meet with the<br />

headmaster of our school and<br />

tell him what is happening and<br />

ask for his advice.<br />

I would talk with social workers<br />

and join any local support<br />

groups for children of dying<br />

parents.<br />

I would ask my parents about<br />

everything I need to know about.<br />

Like where they keep papers for<br />

the house, our birth certificates,<br />

our school certificates, family<br />

members to contact, and so on.<br />

I would ask for an opportunity<br />

to talk to the elders in my family.<br />

I would prepare my siblings and<br />

myself psychologically.<br />

I would commit myself to doing<br />

everything I can to ensure that<br />

my siblings and I are educated<br />

because it is through education<br />

that we will be able to live a<br />

better and more meaningful life.<br />

I believe that through drawing<br />

collectively on the support<br />

systems and structures that<br />

are already in place, however<br />

informally, I – as a vulnerable<br />

or orphaned child — will still<br />

be able to live a more or less<br />

normal life.<br />

Everything I do must<br />

strengthen and not disrupt what<br />

will be left of my family, for<br />

without the love, support and<br />

shared existence of a family, it<br />

would be difficult to grow up, to<br />

know who we are, to learn the<br />

traditions, morals and values of<br />

our culture and to conform to<br />

the broader society.<br />

It is not the absence of the<br />

resource that is a problem; it is the<br />

ability to find, access and utilise<br />

the available resources that is the<br />

problem. There is a lot of support<br />

for orphans. I believe our people<br />

cannot always utilise the available<br />

resources that are at their<br />

disposal. So, if it were me, I would<br />

ask questions until I understand<br />

what help is available.<br />

Preparing for<br />

your death<br />

It sounds odd but it will be<br />

a gift and a lifeline to your<br />

children. Here’s what you<br />

MUST do to safeguard their<br />

emotional, physical and<br />

financial future.<br />

1. Talk about your illness, about<br />

death, and about what will<br />

happen when you are gone.<br />

2. Make memories together.<br />

Spend time doing things that you<br />

love together.<br />

3. Prepare a will. Verbal<br />

instructions do not hold up<br />

in a court of law. Download a<br />

free template of a will from the<br />

Internet. Or ask a lawyer or other<br />

clever person to help you. Get<br />

witnesses to sign the will, make<br />

copies and get a Commissioner of<br />

oaths to certify that they are true<br />

copies. Give copies to your older<br />

children, close family members,<br />

guardians and community<br />

leaders.<br />

4. Appoint guardians to take care<br />

of your children after your death.<br />

Reach out and involve them in<br />

your family life already.<br />

5. Get your and your children’s<br />

papers in order. Birth certificates,<br />

identity documents, grant<br />

applications, property ownership<br />

rights, access to bank accounts,<br />

etc. Make sure that at least two<br />

trusted adults, as well as your<br />

oldest children, know exactly what<br />

is involved, where the papers are<br />

kept and what the passwords are,<br />

if any. n


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Take back your power.<br />

Grow your own food!<br />

Photo | Courtney Smith | Unsplash<br />

Imagine a world in which families and communities are fundamentally<br />

self-sufficient ... living sustainably from the land, the way we,<br />

as a species, have lived for 99% of our time on earth, but with the<br />

advantage of modern tools and technologies at our disposal.<br />

Imagine not being dependent on shops for sustenance,<br />

making use of their offerings when it suits us –<br />

not because we have no choice.<br />

Order the poster at www.southafricanconversations.co.za/shop


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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15<br />

How to start a FOOD garden<br />

More people are now living in cities than in rural areas for the first time in history. Over the next 30 years,<br />

virtually all of the anticipated 3 billion increase in human population will occur in cities of the <strong>South</strong>.<br />

By 2030 these cities will absorb 95% of global urban growth, becoming home to 80% of the world’s urban<br />

population. Accompanying this urban transition is a growing crisis of food insecurity in cities and city regions.<br />

Even in countries experiencing economic growth, food insecurity is already a major challenge.<br />

– Hungry Cities Partnership | www.hungrycities.net<br />

This is not meant to scare you, but to encourage you to find solutions<br />

to growing food for your family and your community.<br />

1. Plan your garden<br />

Decide where you’re going to plant<br />

your garden. If no land is available,<br />

plant in sacks or crates and put them<br />

on your roof – as long as you have<br />

easy access to the plants. Or plant<br />

against a wall. Use a wooden pallet<br />

or a shoe organiser or plastic bottles.<br />

can be seeds you’ve saved from fruits<br />

and vegetables eaten by your family,<br />

or it could be store-bought seeds or<br />

seedlings. One organic tomato will<br />

provide seeds for multiple tomato<br />

plants, each of which will produce<br />

many tomatoes. One potato, likewise,<br />

can result in multiple plants, each of<br />

which will give you many potatoes.<br />

3. Start planting<br />

If you’re using a packet of seeds, follow<br />

the directions. If you’re using your own<br />

saved seeds, poke a small hole in the<br />

soil, insert one seed and cover the<br />

hole. The space that you should leave<br />

between plants will depend on how tall<br />

and wide the particular type of plant<br />

Photo | Markus Spiske | Unsplash<br />

Where there is a will, there is a way! – English proverb<br />

Google ‘ideas for gardening when you<br />

have no space’. For every idea, you’ll<br />

find a video showing you how to do it.<br />

If it is just for your family, start small<br />

and expand as you become confident.<br />

The plants should ideally get 6 to 8<br />

hours of sunlight per day, so they<br />

shouldn’t be shaded by trees or<br />

buildings. It should be protected from<br />

animals, like rabbits, monkeys and<br />

rats. You should have access to water<br />

and the means to get the water to the<br />

plants.<br />

Do you have tools to turn over the<br />

soil, spread mulch and water your<br />

garden?. Do you have seeds? These<br />

2. Prepare the soil<br />

Remove plants, weeds and rocks, and<br />

turn the soil – dig, lift and turn it over<br />

onto itself. Spread compost over the<br />

soil, then work it into the soil. Compost<br />

can be made from a mixture of any or<br />

all of the following: fruit and vegetable<br />

peels, ash from wood fires, cow dung<br />

or horse manure. The resulting soil<br />

will be rich in plant nutrients and<br />

beneficial organisms, such as worms.<br />

Smooth the surface and water the<br />

area thoroughly. Let the soil rest for<br />

some days before you start planting.<br />

will grow. Add a thick layer of mulch<br />

and water the area. Mulch can be any<br />

dried organic matter, such as grass,<br />

leaves, twigs, tree bark, etc. It will keep<br />

moisture in the soil, reduce weed<br />

growth, improve the health of the soil,<br />

and prevent frosts in winter. Mark the<br />

ground with what you have planted.<br />

4. Maintain your garden<br />

Water your garden regularly. If you<br />

water when it is hot, most of the<br />

moisture will evaporate. Remove<br />

weeds that compete for nutrients and<br />

water. Check on the next four pages if<br />

the ‘weed’ you removed is edible and,<br />

if so, include it in your next meal.


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Thembi is eating pap. It makes her happy because it fills the<br />

hole in her tummy, as it has done for many nights in a row<br />

since Gogo got a whole bag of mealie meal after she did that<br />

last piece job. At least for tonight and while the mealie meal<br />

lasts, Thembi will not be one of the millions of <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s<br />

who go to bed on an empty stomach. But she and her baby<br />

brother are part of the 27% of <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> children under the<br />

age of 5 who are stunted because of severe malnutrition and<br />

lack of micro-nutrients in their diet.<br />

Edible Weeds<br />

& Wild Plants<br />

a solution to malnutrition in <strong>South</strong> Africa?<br />

By Catherine Anthony & Theresa Müller<br />

Photos: Mostly from Wikipedia Creative Commons Universal Public Domain<br />

Childhood malnutrition has devastating effects on the life-chances of an<br />

individual: reduced learning capacity, reduced productivity, lower wages<br />

and a lifetime of poor mental and physical health.<br />

Many players are working on the problem of chronic hunger in our<br />

country. But there is also something that people can do for themselves<br />

to increase their daily intake of nutrients. Something that won’t cost any<br />

money and that they may even find in their backyards!<br />

What are we talking about? The plants rich in medicinal and nutritional<br />

value that grow all around us – nature’s gifts that our ancestors relied<br />

on, but that we have forgotten about because we think that anything<br />

edible must come from a packet or a bag, bought from a shop. You will<br />

probably recognise some of the plants listed in this article as ‘weeds’,<br />

even though they were sources of food and medicine dating back<br />

thousands of years.<br />

A plant won’t fill a hole in the stomach as well as a plate of porridge, but<br />

adding even a small quantity of wild ingredients to your daily intake of<br />

food will supply immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients<br />

and fibre to keep your family healthy and well-nourished. If you have<br />

nothing to eat, a soup of wild, edible plants boiled in water will keep<br />

your from starvation.<br />

Start by finding one of these plants in your neighbourhood. Speak with<br />

old people in your community. Many of them will remember walking<br />

in nature, gathering things to eat or to use as medicine. Then find the<br />

second plant ... soon you won’t be spending money on green leafy<br />

vegetables, because you’ll get them free from mother nature.<br />

Be kind to nature. Never pick the whole plant: always leave enough so<br />

that it can continue to grow and provide food. Always properly identify<br />

plants before using them.<br />

1. Dandelion. (Scientific<br />

name: Taraxacum officinale)<br />

Appearance Dandelion is<br />

named after the tooth-like<br />

appearance of the leaves (dents<br />

de lion<br />

means teeth of the<br />

lion in French). Has a long taproot and<br />

toothed leaves. Its flowers grow on a<br />

single, non-branching stem, are yellow<br />

and turn into fluffy pom poms when<br />

producing seeds.<br />

Where does it grow? | Everywhere<br />

in the world where the sun shines.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | All<br />

dandelion look-alikes are safe and<br />

edible, but not necessarily as tasty.<br />

Nutritional value | Highly<br />

nutritious. High in potassium and<br />

vitamins A & C. Also contains vitamins<br />

B & D. Rich source of iron, magnesium<br />

& calcium. and B complex; Protein;<br />

Biotin; Iron; Magnesium; Zinc;<br />

Manganese; Phosphorous; Calcium;<br />

Contains antioxidants.<br />

Good for | Kidney, liver & gall<br />

bladder, digestion, water retention,<br />

constipation, inflammation. General<br />

tonic.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Every<br />

part of the plant is edible.<br />

Taste | Bitter-sweet<br />

How to use | Eat the leaves and<br />

flowers raw in salads & savoury<br />

smoothies immediately after picking,<br />

for optimal nutrition and before they<br />

wilt. Make dandelion pesto. Cook like<br />

spinach. Add to soups and stews.<br />

Make a tea with it. Roast and grind<br />

the roots to mimic coffee.


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2. Clover. (Confusingly refers<br />

to about 300 species of plants in the<br />

pea family Fabaceae, as well as about<br />

550 species of plants of the Oxalidaceae<br />

family – both edible, but with markedly<br />

different flowers.)<br />

3. Stinging Nettle.<br />

(Scientific name: Urtica dioica)<br />

4. Chickweed. (Scientific<br />

name: Stellaria media)<br />

Appearance | Three distinctive<br />

heart-shaped leaves, though some<br />

have four and some up to nine leaves!<br />

Pink, white or yellow flowers.<br />

Where does it grow? | Everywhere!<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Though clover itself is mildly toxic in<br />

large quantities.<br />

Nutritional value | High in protein,<br />

minerals and soluble carbohydrates,<br />

beta carotene, vitamin C, most of the<br />

B vitamins, biotin, choline, inositol, and<br />

bioflavonoids.<br />

Good for | Hot flashes, arthritis,<br />

osteoporosis, urinary tract infections,<br />

skin & hair disorders.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Everything<br />

Taste | Tart.<br />

How to use | Eat raw in small<br />

quantities in salads, on sandwiches,<br />

in smoothies. Cook with other greens<br />

and use in soups and stews. Use the<br />

blossoms for tea & garnish.<br />

Appearance | Long-stalked plant<br />

covered with fine, ‘stinging’ hair. Dark<br />

green, pointy, opposite leaves with<br />

raggedy edges. Little green-yellow<br />

balls of flowers. Wear gloves to<br />

harvest. If you get stung, use the juice<br />

from the stem to cure the sting.<br />

Where does it grow? | In rich,<br />

partially shaded soil.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Nutritional value | High levels of<br />

minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron,<br />

potassium, phosphorous, manganese,<br />

silica, iodine, silicon, sodium & sulfur.<br />

Good source of chlorophyll, tannin,<br />

vitamin C, beta-carotene & B complex<br />

and easily absorbable amino acids.<br />

Higher protein content than any other<br />

vegetable.<br />

Good for | Anaemia, blood<br />

cleansing, improved blood flow,<br />

inflammation, gout, arthritis,<br />

rheumatism, bladder infection, hay<br />

fever, allergies, asthma, burns, kidney<br />

stones, wounds, iron deficiencies,<br />

internal parasites, haemorrhoids,<br />

diarrhoea, and nose bleeds. Improves<br />

breast milk production. A highly<br />

nutritious tonic.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Leaves<br />

and stems.<br />

Taste | Similar to spinach but with<br />

an earthy, peppery punch.<br />

How to use | Steam the leaves like<br />

spinach. Use in soups & stews. Use<br />

fresh or dried leaves for tea.<br />

Appearance | There are many<br />

species of chickweed, all with tiny,<br />

pointed, oval, untoothed leaves &<br />

delicate stems. Tiny white flowers.<br />

Where does it grow? | Sunny areas.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Nutritional value | Contains<br />

vitamins A, D, B complex, C, iron,<br />

calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc,<br />

manganese, sodium, copper and silica.<br />

Good for | Chop finely and apply<br />

externally to soothe irritated skin,<br />

cuts, minor burns, eczema and rashes.<br />

A mild diuretic, cleanses and soothes<br />

the kidneys and urinary tract and helps<br />

relieve cystitis.<br />

Parts of the plant used | All parts.<br />

Taste | Raw tastes like corn silk.<br />

Cooked tastes like spinach.<br />

How to use | Use raw in salads,<br />

sandwiches and smoothies. Cook like<br />

spinach. Use in soups & stews. Make<br />

tea with the whole plant – fresh or<br />

dried.


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5. Lambsquarters<br />

/ Fat Hen (Scientific name:<br />

Chenopodium album – part of the<br />

amaranth family)<br />

6. Plantain. (Broadleaf<br />

plantain. Scientific name: Plantago<br />

major. Ribwort or narrow leaf plantain.<br />

Scientific name: Plantago lanceolata. )<br />

7. Purslane &<br />

Shoreline Purslane.<br />

(Scientific name: Portulaca oleracea.<br />

Belongs to the same family as<br />

Spekboom, which is often referred<br />

to as a Purslane Tree. Spekboom,<br />

though, does not have nearly the same<br />

nutritional benefits as purslane.)<br />

Appearance | Wedge-shaped<br />

oval leaves with saw-like edges –<br />

often blue-green. Often have a white<br />

powdery, non-toxic coating at the top<br />

of the plant and under the leaves.<br />

Where does it grow? | A hardy<br />

plant that likes sunshine.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | No<br />

poisonous look-alikes.<br />

Nutritional value | Rich in vitamins<br />

A & C, iron and zinc.<br />

Good for | Cleansing toxins from<br />

the body, soothing arthritic joint pain,<br />

reducing inflammation, supporting the<br />

healing of anaemic blood conditions.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Leaves,<br />

flowers & seeds.<br />

Taste | Tastes like spinach.<br />

How to use | Cook the leaves &<br />

flowers like spinach, add them to<br />

dishes or make tea with them. The<br />

seeds can be ground into flour.<br />

Appearance | There are long<br />

and narrow leaf, as well as broadleaf<br />

plantain plants – both edible and<br />

medicinal. Five to nine veins run over<br />

the length of the smooth-edged leaf.<br />

The rosette of ribbed leaves spread<br />

in a circle from one base point. Tall,<br />

green, pencil-shaped flower/seed<br />

stalks. Not related to the banana<br />

known as plantain.<br />

Where does it grow? | In areas<br />

disturbed by humans.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | Very few<br />

natural look-alikes, and the plants that<br />

do are all non-toxic.<br />

Nutritional value | Rich in betacarotene<br />

and minerals, especially<br />

calcium.<br />

Good for | Skin poultices on<br />

wounds, sores or insect stings.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Leaves<br />

& seeds<br />

Taste | Tastes like wheatgrass juice.<br />

How to use | Use young greens in<br />

salads. Cook older leaves like spinach.<br />

Use the tiny black seeds as a source<br />

of fibre or a thickener, like psyllium<br />

seeds.<br />

Appearance | Smooth, reddish<br />

stems. Thick, succulent leaves. Yellow<br />

flowers with 5 petals.<br />

Where does it grow? | Everywhere!<br />

Not picky about soil type or condition.<br />

Gardeners root them up, not knowing<br />

it’s a superfood they’re throwing away.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | Spurge:<br />

also grows close to the ground, but<br />

leaves are marked and much thinner.<br />

Nutritional value | Contains<br />

more Omega 3 fatty acids than some<br />

species of fish. Rich in vitamins A & C,<br />

magnesium, manganese, potassium,<br />

iron and antioxidants.<br />

Good for | Brain development, heart<br />

health, asthma and diabetes. It is a<br />

natural anti-depressant.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Leaves.<br />

Taste | Lemony<br />

How to use | Add leaves to salads,<br />

sandwiches, smoothies, soups & stews.


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8. Geranium &<br />

Mallow (Scientific names:<br />

Pelargonium & Malva.)<br />

9. Sour Fig (Scientific name:<br />

Carpobrotus edulis. Also known as Cape<br />

Fig, Hottentot-fig, Kaapsevy, Suurvy,<br />

Ghaukum, Ikhambi-lamabulawo or<br />

umgongozi.)<br />

10. Dune Spinach<br />

(Scientific name: Tetragonia decumbens.<br />

Also known as sea spinach.)<br />

Appearance | The leaves have<br />

five lobes radiating from one stem.<br />

Flowers are white, pink or red. The two<br />

plants are easily confused because<br />

their leaves look similar, though their<br />

flowers are different. Both are edible.<br />

Where does it grow? | Geranium:<br />

found in gardens all over SA. Mallow:<br />

hardy, drought-resistant, coastal plant.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Nutritional value | Both plants<br />

are high in calcium, magnesium, zinc,<br />

potassium, iron, selenium & Vit A & C.<br />

Good for | Treating disorders of<br />

the skin, gastrointestinal tract and<br />

respiratory tract.<br />

Parts of the plant used |<br />

Geranium: the leaves and flowers.<br />

Mallow: The entire plant.<br />

Taste | Geranium: flavourful and<br />

scented. Mallow: bland.<br />

How to use | Geranium: use leaves<br />

to flavour meat dishes & salads. Use<br />

the flowers for cakes, desserts &<br />

teas. Mallow: use fresh leaves as a<br />

thickener in soups and stews; dried<br />

leaves as tea. Cook the root like potato<br />

or boil and use the thick mucus as a<br />

substitute for egg whites. Eat the ‘fruit’<br />

raw or pickled. Google recipes for this<br />

versatile & nutrient-dense plant.<br />

Appearance | Succulent leaves that<br />

contain a gel-like sap. The yellow or<br />

pink flowers produce nodule-shaped<br />

fruit that crinkles when ripe.<br />

Where does it grow? | A hardy,<br />

drought-resistant plant that grows<br />

abundantly across Namaqualand,<br />

Eastern, Northern & Western Cape.<br />

Cultivated in gardens throughout SA<br />

as a ground cover.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Nutritional value | High in antiantioxidants,<br />

proteins and essential<br />

nutrients compared to most cultivated<br />

fruits.<br />

Good for | An important source of<br />

medicine and nutrition. Use the sap in<br />

the leaves as to treat wounds, burns,<br />

stings, cold sores, thrush, nappy rash<br />

and cracked lips. Eases stomach<br />

cramps and diarrhoea.<br />

Parts of the plant used | Leaves,<br />

flowers and fruit.<br />

Taste | Sour.<br />

How to use | Chop the leaves into<br />

stews and soups. Eat the fruits fresh<br />

or dried as a nutritional snack, or use<br />

them in jam or chutney.<br />

Appearance | Low ground cover<br />

with thick, pale, furry stems and<br />

glistening, oval, saddle-shaped leaves.<br />

Where does it grow? | Coastal<br />

areas & sand dunes everywhere in SA.<br />

Poisonous look-alikes | None.<br />

Nutritional value | High in Vitamin<br />

A & C, Potassium & Calcium.<br />

Good for | Not known, though<br />

this plant was historically used by the<br />

Bushmen and San people alike.<br />

Parts of the plant used | The<br />

entire plant is edible.<br />

Taste | Salty.<br />

How to use | Carefully wash the<br />

sand off and use the new leaves raw<br />

as a feta alternative in salads & potato<br />

salads. Add leaves and stems to stirfries<br />

and pasta or boil, steam and use<br />

like you would with spinach. Include in<br />

soups and stews. It loses its saltiness<br />

when cooked.<br />

n


20<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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The cultural context of<br />

A friend tells the charming<br />

story of his aged father<br />

arriving in Durban to visit<br />

one of his sons. As they<br />

walk down a busy street,<br />

the old man stops every<br />

few seconds and asks<br />

people how they are. The<br />

son very quickly has to<br />

intervene and educate his<br />

father:<br />

‘This is the city, father. There<br />

are too many people here to<br />

greet. You greet only those<br />

you know, not the ones you<br />

don’t know.’<br />

It was an incomprehensible<br />

rudeness that the old man<br />

just couldn’t get used to.<br />

The same old man sold<br />

his horse to a young man<br />

in their rural community.<br />

After a couple of days the<br />

young man stopped by<br />

to enquire: ‘Why does the<br />

horse come to a standstill<br />

whenever we approach<br />

someone?’<br />

‘To greet and enquire about<br />

the other’s life, of course,’<br />

the old man replied.<br />

The horse had absorbed<br />

the old man’s way of life<br />

and did not even have to<br />

be prompted to stop and<br />

be civil to the people of<br />

that community.


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TRING-TRING-TRING ...<br />

ANSWER: Hello. This is<br />

Deidre.<br />

REPLY: Hello, how are you?<br />

ANSWER: (mildly irritated)<br />

Fine, thank you. Who are<br />

you?<br />

This is a relatively common<br />

exchange between black<br />

and white people in <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa.<br />

For many black people,<br />

the question ‘How are you?<br />

(Kunjani? / O kae?)’ is the<br />

only respectful way to start<br />

a conversation.<br />

This civility is inherent in<br />

most <strong>African</strong> languages<br />

and cultures. To start<br />

with the purpose of your<br />

call would be offensively<br />

impolite. For instance,<br />

one would not dream of<br />

simply saying ‘Dumela’.<br />

The greeting will always be<br />

followed by the question:<br />

‘O phela jwang?’ which<br />

literally means, ‘How is<br />

your life?’ — reminiscent<br />

of an era when people still<br />

had time to engage with<br />

one another.<br />

To the white person, the<br />

question feels like an<br />

intrusion: ‘You don’t know<br />

who I am and you haven’t<br />

even announced yourself,<br />

how can you ask me how<br />

I am?’ She wants to first<br />

know who you are and<br />

what the purpose of your<br />

call is, before engaging in<br />

small talk with you.<br />

When there is<br />

understanding it is<br />

possible to not only<br />

tolerate and accept our<br />

differences, but to respect<br />

the other’s behaviour.


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HOW ABOUT LEARNING MY<br />

Everything can change, but not the<br />

language that we carry inside us,<br />

like a world more exclusive and final<br />

than one’s mother’s womb.<br />

– Italo Calvino. Writer, Essayist, Journalist<br />

Photo: Heidi Sheppard<br />

There are about 6,000 languages spoken in the<br />

world.* Ninety five percent of these languages<br />

are spoken by only four percent of the world’s<br />

population. Across the world an average of two<br />

languages die out each month. That is why,<br />

in 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 as<br />

International Mother Language Day.<br />

Language is the most powerful instrument we<br />

have to preserve our cultural wealth and our<br />

diverse cultural heritage. The day is celebrated<br />

around the world, annually, to promote<br />

dialogue among different cultures and people,<br />

and to foster mutual understanding and<br />

respect for all cultures.<br />

* UNESCO’s ‘Atlas of the World Languages in Danger of Disappearing’.<br />

And did you know that, in spite of major<br />

opposition, Madiba insisted on including<br />

‘Die Stem’ in the National Anthem of the new<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa, signifying respect for all races and<br />

cultures and the dawning of an all-inclusive<br />

new era for <strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

Are you one of those people who keep quiet<br />

during the verses of the Anthem that is not in<br />

your mother tongue?<br />

We’d like to challenge you to learn to sing the<br />

National Anthem of <strong>South</strong> Africa and get to<br />

know what the words mean, too.<br />

The lyrics and the translation of each non-<br />

English verse is on the opposite page.<br />

s<br />

s


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23<br />

Every month we’ll give you two or more words to learn in all our official languages. Here’s how to<br />

say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Ask a friend or a co-worker to teach you how to pronounce the words.<br />

Try, at least, to master those words that belong to the languages that are spoken where you live.<br />

LANGUAGE PREDOMINANT IN WORDS<br />

English Western Cape Please Thank you<br />

Afrikaans Northern Cape Asseblief Dankie<br />

IsiNdebele<br />

(Ndebele)<br />

Sesotho sa Leboa<br />

(Pedi – or Northern Sotho)<br />

Sesotho<br />

(Sotho – or <strong>South</strong>ern Sotho)<br />

Mpumalanga Ngiyabawa Ngiyathokoza<br />

Limpopo Ka kgopelo Ke a leboga<br />

Free State Ke a kopa Ke a leboha<br />

Setswana North West Province Ke kopa Ke a leboga<br />

Xitsonga Limpopo Ndza kombela Inkomu<br />

Tshivenda Limpopo Nga khumbelo Ndo livhuwa / Ro<br />

IsiXhosa Eastern Cape Nceda Enkosi<br />

IsiZulu KwaZulu-Natal Ngicela Ngiyabonga<br />

SiSwati Mpumalanga Ngiyacela Siyabonga<br />

You can learn to speak all 11 of our official languages, as well as <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> sign language,<br />

free of charge, online, at https://play.google.com ... Click on Apps, then type the name of the<br />

language you would like to learn into the search bar.<br />

s<br />

s<br />

(Xhosa) Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika<br />

Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo,<br />

(Zulu) Yizwa imithandazo yethu,<br />

Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.<br />

(Sotho) Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,<br />

O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,<br />

O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,<br />

Setjhaba sa, <strong>South</strong> Afrika, <strong>South</strong> Afrika.<br />

(Afrikaans) Uit die blou van onse hemel,<br />

Uit die diepte van ons see,<br />

Oor ons ewige gebergtes,<br />

Waar die kranse antwoord gee,<br />

(English) Sounds the call to come together,<br />

And united we shall stand,<br />

Let us live and strive for freedom<br />

In <strong>South</strong> Africa our land.<br />

Translation<br />

God [Lord] bless Africa<br />

Raise high its glory<br />

Hear our prayers<br />

God bless us, her children<br />

God, we ask You to protect our nation<br />

Intervene and end all conflicts<br />

Protect us, protect our nation, our<br />

nation,<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa - <strong>South</strong> Africa<br />

Out of the blue of our heavens,<br />

Out of the depths of our seas,<br />

Over our everlasting mountains,<br />

Where the echoing crags resound ...


24<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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THE<br />

RUBBISH BIN<br />

SCAVENGERS<br />

One young man’s experience<br />

I am sitting here by the street,<br />

because I have no job. I told<br />

my mother that I will get a job,<br />

but eish, I have been here for<br />

so long and every night I go<br />

back home with no job. I think<br />

people don’t want to use me<br />

because I look too young. The<br />

older men, they get jobs.<br />

Sometimes it rains, sometimes<br />

it is very cold. Sometimes I<br />

get hungry. Then I go and beg<br />

at that robot. But those guys<br />

there, that’s their robot. They<br />

don’t want me to stand there.<br />

On Tuesdays I dig the rubbish<br />

bins. There are many people<br />

doing that. 20 to 30 in each<br />

place. It is difficult to get in.<br />

That old man there, he took me<br />

the first time. So the others,<br />

they accepted me. Sometimes<br />

you get nice things. And<br />

sometimes you get food. Then<br />

we take all the stuff to the<br />

recycle and the others we sell<br />

at home. One day I made R79<br />

from the rubbish at the recycle.<br />

My mother is a domestic. She<br />

can’t pay for me to come here<br />

every day. So I walk here from<br />

Diepsloot every morning. It is<br />

bad. I don’t want to go home,<br />

because everyone is hungry.<br />

I got a piece-job last year.<br />

I worked the garden. But the<br />

people went on holiday in<br />

December and they didn’t tell<br />

me. So, when I got there, I had<br />

wasted the transport and I had<br />

no transport back because they<br />

would pay me that day.


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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25<br />

That was the first time I sit here<br />

by the side of the road. At the<br />

end of the day I walked all the<br />

way to Diepsloot.<br />

I was hungry and it rained hard.<br />

When I got home my mother<br />

cried. Even though the money<br />

was small, at least I was getting<br />

food while I was working there.<br />

I walked there one day to see<br />

if they were back, but there was<br />

nobody there.<br />

Photo: Mélina Huet. Assistant: Nkosazana Teyise


26<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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Everything you<br />

need to know about<br />

recycling<br />

To<br />

1. Make money from it<br />

2. Honour the people who recycle and<br />

3. To safeguard our world<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa has recycling rates comparable to European countries for some materials. 60,000 to<br />

90,000 reclaimers (waste pickers) collect an astonishing 80% to 90% of used packaging and paper<br />

that are recycled, providing crucial inputs for production and saving municipalities up to R750 million<br />

a year in potential landfill costs. Despite their significant contributions, reclaimers in <strong>South</strong> Africa are<br />

not paid for the service they provide. Instead, they earn a pittance when they sell what they collect.<br />

– The Conversation, April 2020<br />

When people come out of their driveway and see me digging in their rubbish bin, they look at me as if<br />

How recycling benefits the<br />

environment and humanity |<br />

n It saves valuable landfill space.<br />

n It conserves raw materials and<br />

natural resources.<br />

n It saves water and energy: making<br />

new products from recycled instead<br />

of raw materials usually requires<br />

less water and energy to produce.<br />

n It keeps production costs down.<br />

n It reduces the amount of litter that<br />

spoils our environment and that<br />

somehow finds its way into our<br />

rivers, oceans and nature spots.<br />

n It safeguards our tourist attractions.<br />

n It protects the environment and<br />

mitigates climate change – ultimately<br />

creating a healthier world for<br />

humans and animals.<br />

n It reduces air, water and soil<br />

pollution.<br />

n It reduces greenhouse gas<br />

emissions which cause global<br />

warming.<br />

n It creates jobs and helps alleviate<br />

extreme poverty.<br />

n It boosts entrepreneurship and<br />

creates both business opportunities<br />

and jobs.<br />

If you’re digging in other<br />

people’s rubbish bins or working<br />

the landfill for things to recycle<br />

or re-sell, here’s what YOU can<br />

do to make a difference for<br />

yourself |<br />

Know that it is NOT against the law to go<br />

through and take things from rubbish<br />

bins in public spaces and on pavements.<br />

Security guards and police may not<br />

harass you for doing this.<br />

Nor is it a shame to do this hard work to<br />

support yourself. You should be proud<br />

of yourself for the contribution you are<br />

making to cleaning the environment.<br />

Negotiate with a source of recyclable<br />

waste, such as a restaurant (for bottles) or<br />

an office park (for paper) for permission<br />

to sort their waste and take what you can<br />

recycle for money.<br />

Empower yourself |<br />

<strong>African</strong> Reclaimers Organisation<br />

| Join this organisation of informal<br />

recyclers who work in streets and landfills<br />

in and around Johannesburg. They<br />

work for recyclers to be included and<br />

recognised by all stakeholders in the<br />

waste management system | 060 321<br />

5800 | africanreclaimers@gmail.com<br />

| www.africanreclaimers.org |<br />

f africanreclaimers<br />

Global Alliance of Waste Pickers | A<br />

network among thousands of waste<br />

picker organisations in more than<br />

28 countries, supported by WIEGO.<br />

Includes the Waste Pickers Around the<br />

World (WAW) Database – the first global<br />

database of waste pickers to use for<br />

solidarity and networking purposes,<br />

and for researchers and institutions<br />

interested in the informal recycling sector.<br />

Search for ‘WAW database’ and complete<br />

a form to add your organisation | www.<br />

globalrec.org | f GlobalRec<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> Waste Pickers<br />

Association (SAWPA) | Join SAWPA.<br />

They promote, defend and protect the<br />

interests and rights of people collecting<br />

and selling waste | WhatsApp 066 219<br />

1232 | f SAWPAZA<br />

Women in Informal Employment:<br />

Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) |<br />

Economic empowerment of the working<br />

poor, not only women. Learn about your<br />

rights, about strengthening waste-picker<br />

organisations, and about what people are<br />

doing in the informal economy in other<br />

countries. Resource-rich website. Search<br />

for ‘Waste Pickers’ and ‘reclaimers’. Also,<br />

download the free publication ‘Options<br />

for Organising Waste Pickers in <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa’ | wiego@wiego.org | www.<br />

wiego.org | f wiegoglobal


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Learn from |<br />

The more you know about recycling<br />

and waste management, the more<br />

opportunities will open up for you. You<br />

could even open your own buy-back<br />

centre where other waste-pickers bring<br />

their finds, while you sell on to larger<br />

industry buyers. Take a look at the<br />

ENTREPRENEURSHIP pages.<br />

Institute of Waste Management of<br />

<strong>South</strong>ern Africa (IWMSA) | Supports<br />

sustainable best practices, improved<br />

waste management standards and<br />

legislation in the waste and secondary<br />

resources sectors in relationship with<br />

the Department of Forestry, Fisheries<br />

& the Environment. Promotes the value<br />

of waste as a resource. Resource-rich<br />

website with useful information for<br />

& educate people about ocean<br />

conservation, plastic pollution and waste<br />

management to protect Africa’s marine<br />

resources. The resource-rich, educational<br />

website contains a recycling and waste<br />

locations map | 222 Main Rd, Walmer,<br />

Gqeberha/PE, Eastern Cape | 076 608<br />

3587 | info@sst.org.za | www.sst.<br />

You<br />

Tube<br />

org.za | f seapledge | Sustainable<br />

Seas Trust<br />

Treevolution | Informative site.<br />

Freely download ‘The Beginner’s Guide to<br />

Recycling’ | info@treevolution.co.za |<br />

www.treevolution.co.za<br />

ANY<br />

RECYCLABLE WASTE<br />

FMSA Waste Management &<br />

Recycling | Supports two clean and<br />

safe Green Deeds Recycling centres.<br />

Provides regular street waste pickers<br />

with a sturdy, branded trolley, protective<br />

clothing, training and education (life skills,<br />

communication, literacy, etc.), as well<br />

as access to financial products such as<br />

bank cards, funeral policies, etc. Inforich<br />

website | www.fmsa.co.za | f<br />

FMSAWasteManagementRecycling<br />

• Brentwood Centre: 59 Rd 5, Brentwood<br />

Park, Benoni | 010 612 0347<br />

• Waltloo Centre: 89 Battery St, Waltloo,<br />

Tshwane/Pretoria | 010 612 0366<br />

I’m crazy. I’m not a monster. I’m without job, but I’m making a job for myself. – A recycler’s cry for dignity<br />

any recycling entrepreneurs. Promotes<br />

the value of waste as a resource. Free<br />

downloads from Resources – Training:<br />

• Win with Waste for Entrepreneurs –<br />

How to turn waste into cash<br />

• Waste Management Support Systems<br />

for SMMEs<br />

| 011 675 3462 | info@iwmsa.co.za<br />

| www.iwmsa.co.za | f iwmsa<br />

Let’s Do It, <strong>South</strong> Africa | Part of<br />

the global movement Let’s Do It World!<br />

Hosts the annual World Cleanup Day<br />

in <strong>South</strong> Africa on the 3rd Saturday of<br />

September. Advocates for a cleaner,<br />

greener country. Learn about the<br />

Circular Economy and get some ideas<br />

of how YOU could use waste to create<br />

something new | camilo@gemproject.<br />

org | www.letsdoitsouthafrica.org |<br />

f Letsdoitsouthafrica<br />

National Recycling Forum | An NPO<br />

that promotes the recovery and recycling<br />

of recyclable materials in <strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

Highly informative website. Download the<br />

RAG Recycling Leaflet. Useful resources<br />

for people who recycle, waste-pickers<br />

and teachers | 011 675 3462 | www.<br />

recycling.co.za<br />

Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) | 80%<br />

of the trash in our oceans comes from<br />

trash on the land. SST is a science-based<br />

NPO that works to raise awareness<br />

WHERE TO TAKE YOUR<br />

RECYCLABLES |<br />

1. The organisations listed on these<br />

pages are displayed in order of the kind<br />

of recyclables that they accept. Call them<br />

before you go there to make sure:<br />

• Exactly what they do and don’t take. (It<br />

differs from business to business.)<br />

• Where the closest buy-back centre is<br />

where you can drop off the items you<br />

collected.<br />

2. Use the MyWaste drop-off site finder<br />

at www.mywaste.co.za | Select the<br />

type of materials you are recycling, then<br />

type in your address – anywhere in<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa. The system will provide a<br />

list of recycling drop-off centres in your<br />

geographical area.<br />

3. Go to PETCO at www.petco.co.za and<br />

click on FIND A DROP-OFF SITE on the<br />

menu for a database of drop-off sites in<br />

every province in <strong>South</strong> Africa. Note that<br />

only 10 entries are displayed for each<br />

province UNLESS you select to view more.<br />

4. Find a recycling and waste location<br />

near you on the comprehensive<br />

and highly informative recycling and<br />

waste locations map supplied by the<br />

Sustainable Seas Trust (SST). Click on<br />

MAPS & RESOURCES at www.sst.org.za<br />

Pikitup | Keeps Johannesburg clean.<br />

Call to find a drop off site near you in<br />

Johannesburg. Informative website | 66<br />

Jorissen Place, Jorissen St, Braamfontein,<br />

Johannesburg | 010 055 5990 / 087<br />

357 1120 | Report illegal dumping:<br />

080 872 3342) | info@pikitup.co.za |<br />

www.pikitup.co.za | f Pikitup |<br />

You<br />

Tube<br />

Pikitup<br />

A Cleaner Joburg<br />

WastePlan | Plastic, paper, cardboard,<br />

cans, glass, woven bags. Buyback<br />

recycling facilities:<br />

• Cape Town, Western Cape |<br />

Sandringham Rd, Kraaifontein<br />

• Durban, KZN | 4 Munro Place,<br />

Queensburgh<br />

• Kempton Park, Gauteng | 58 Loper<br />

Ave, Spartan<br />

• Tshwane/Pretoria, Gauteng | 415<br />

Skilder St, Silvertondale<br />

086 111 6699 | info@wasteplan.co.za<br />

| www.wasteplan.co.za | f WastePlan<br />

CANS<br />

Beverage, aerosol and food cans.<br />

Collect-A-Can | Pays for cans by<br />

weight. Branches in Vanderbijlpark,<br />

JHB, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.<br />

Agents elsewhere. Call to find out where<br />

to drop off | 011 466-2939 | info@<br />

collectacan.co.za | www.collectacan.<br />

co.za | f CollectaCan


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E-WASTE<br />

Electrical & electronic waste: household<br />

appliances, lighting lamps, cables,<br />

TVs, computers, laptops, cell phones,<br />

printers, keyboards, etc.<br />

e-Waste Association of SA | An<br />

NPO for the growing network of e-waste<br />

management companies in <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa | 031 535 7146 | info@<br />

ewasa.org | www.ewasa.org | f<br />

eWasteAssociationSA<br />

Reclite SA | Recovery, collection,<br />

transportation and recycling of Waste<br />

Electrical and Electronic Equipment<br />

(WEEE) | Head office: Germiston,<br />

Gauteng. Call for info about depots<br />

elsewhere in SA | 011 825 0336 / 0486<br />

| www.reclite.co.za<br />

GLASS<br />

Bottles and jars – from restaurants,<br />

bars and shebeens.<br />

The Glass Recycling Company |<br />

Does not buy glass but will direct<br />

you to potential buyers in your area.<br />

Provides advice, glass collection bags<br />

or wheelie bins, gloves and goggles to<br />

collect and sell large volumes of glass<br />

to glass manufacturers. Requests for<br />

assistance are evaluated with each online<br />

entrepreneur application | 0861 2<br />

GLASS (45277) | info@tgrc.co.za |<br />

www.theglassrecyclingcompany.co.za |<br />

f TheGlassRecyclingCo<br />

HAZARDOUS WASTE<br />

Corrosive, explosive, flammable,<br />

radioactive, medical waste, toxic and<br />

chemical materials, as well as objects<br />

that can have a detrimental impact on<br />

human and animal health and on the<br />

environment. Eg: Batteries, asbestos<br />

waste, waste oil, etc. Information and<br />

links to relevant government regulations<br />

at Institute of Waste Management of<br />

<strong>South</strong>ern Africa | www.iwmsa.co.za<br />

Responsible Packaging Management<br />

Association of <strong>South</strong>ern Africa<br />

(RPMASA) | An NPO that deals with<br />

the classification, packaging, labelling,<br />

handling, storage and transport of<br />

dangerous goods and hazardous<br />

materials. Contact them for a reference<br />

to relevant industry recyclers | 087 722<br />

1636 / 081 264 6678 | info@rpmasa.<br />

org.za | www.rpmasa.org.za | f<br />

RPMASA<br />

ROSE Foundation | See below, under<br />

‘Oil & Drums’<br />

METAL<br />

Ferrous scrap metal contains iron.<br />

Examples: steel, iron and stainless steel.<br />

Non-ferrous scrap metal does not<br />

contain iron. Examples: copper, brass,<br />

aluminium, zinc, magnesium, tin, nickel<br />

and lead.<br />

Metal Recyclers Association of <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa (MRA) | Any scrap metal. There<br />

is a scrap metal dealer locator on their<br />

website | www.mra.co.za<br />

OIL & DRUMS<br />

Any used lubricating oil that has<br />

become contaminated and degraded<br />

as a result of its usage, e.g., engine oil,<br />

gear oil and hydraulic oil, and any steel<br />

or plastic drums or intermediate bulk<br />

containers.<br />

ROSE Foundation | Learn how to<br />

become a collector of used oil and<br />

create a sustainable revenue stream.<br />

You must have a vehicle and Dangerous<br />

Goods operator license. See criteria and<br />

registration form on their website |<br />

021 448 7492 | info@rosefoundation.<br />

org.za | www.rosefoundation.org.za<br />

ORGANIC WASTE<br />

Any material that is biodegradable<br />

and comes from either a plant or<br />

an animal, e.g. food scraps, foodsoiled<br />

paper, wood, garden waste,<br />

biodegradable packaging, etc.<br />

Organic waste is deprived of oxygen in<br />

landfills and generates methane, which<br />

is harmful to the environment.<br />

The Western Cape is phasing out<br />

organic waste in landfills requiring a<br />

50% reduction in 2022 and a 100%<br />

ban by 2027. The rest of <strong>South</strong> Africa is<br />

expected to follow suit. Businesses and<br />

households will be required to separate<br />

organic waste ‘at source’.<br />

Zero to Landfill Organics provides a<br />

solution to this challenge. Take a look |<br />

www.ztlorganics.co.za<br />

PAPER & CARDBOARD<br />

Clean, dry, office paper, books,<br />

newspapers, magazines, cardboard<br />

boxes – including juice & milk cartons.<br />

Mpact Recycling | Over 40 waste<br />

paper and plastic buy-back centres<br />

nationwide | Toll-free 080 0022 112<br />

/ 011 538 8600 | recyclingevents@<br />

mpact.co.za | www.mpactrecycling.<br />

co.za | f MpactRecycling<br />

Paper Manufacturers Association<br />

of <strong>South</strong> Africa (PAMSA) | Offers<br />

entrepreneurship training for waste<br />

collectors. A resource-rich website with<br />

information about what kinds of paper<br />

can be recycled | 011 803 5063 |<br />

info@thepaperstory.co.za | www.<br />

thepaperstory.co.za | f paperrocksza<br />

Sappi ReFibre | A division of Sappi<br />

<strong>South</strong>ern Africa, responsible for the<br />

recycling of used paper and paper<br />

products. Contact them directly to find<br />

out what opportunities exist in your area<br />

| Head office: 011 407 8111 | lazarus.<br />

machini@sappi.com | www.sappi.com<br />

| f SappiGroup<br />

PLASTIC<br />

Clean, used plastic. Almost all recycling<br />

centres accept PET – #1 and HDPE – #2<br />

(containers), LDPE – #4 (bags), PP –<br />

#5, and PS – #6. #7 is mixed plastics<br />

such as polycarbonates that are not<br />

recyclable. Contact the organisations<br />

listed below to find out what they<br />

accept BEFORE you go there.<br />

Million Plus | A Polyco initiative to<br />

get <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s to recycle plastic |<br />

www.millionplusrecyclers.co.za | f<br />

millionplusrecyclers<br />

Mpact Recycling | Over 40 waste<br />

paper and plastic buy-back centres<br />

nationwide | Toll-free 080 0022 112


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

29<br />

/ 011 538 8600 | recyclingevents@<br />

mpact.co.za | www.mpactrecycling.<br />

co.za | f MpactRecycling<br />

PETCO | PET plastics labelled with<br />

the # 1 code on or near the bottom of<br />

bottles, containers, jars, punnets, tubs,<br />

food trays, sheet and film for packaging,<br />

etc. Find a recycling drop-off site, as well<br />

as information on how to start a recycling<br />

business on their resource-rich website<br />

| 021 794 6300 / WhatsApp 060 070<br />

2077 | info@petco.co.za | www.<br />

petco.co.za | f PETPlasticRecyclingSA<br />

Plastics SA | The mouthpiece of the<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> plastics industry | 011<br />

314 4021 | enquiries@plasticsSA.<br />

co.za | www.plasticsinfo.co.za | f<br />

weloveplastic<br />

Polyco | All plastics | 021 531 0647 |<br />

admin@polyco.co.za | www.polyco.co.za<br />

Polystyrene Association Of <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa | Promotes the collection and<br />

recycling of polystyrene (cups, food<br />

trays, equipment packaging, etc.) |<br />

Info@polystyrenesa.co.za | www.<br />

polystyrenesa.co.za<br />

<strong>South</strong>ern <strong>African</strong> Plastics Recycling<br />

Organisation (SAPRO) | Represents<br />

plastics re-processors who procure<br />

sorted, baled end-of-life plastics and<br />

re-process it into raw material or<br />

manufacture new plastics products.<br />

In-depth information for people who<br />

want to start a recycle business | 072<br />

8202506 | gm@plasticrecyclingsa.co.za<br />

| www.plasticrecyclingsa.co.za | f<br />

plasticrecyclingsa<br />

If you own a rubbish bin, here’s<br />

what YOU can do to make a<br />

difference as an individual |<br />

n Take a look at the resources on these<br />

pages and educate yourself about the<br />

different recycling categories and about<br />

what can and can’t be recycled. If in<br />

doubt, contact your local municipality.<br />

n Organise your household, housing<br />

or office complex to sort rubbish<br />

into recyclable categories. It will help<br />

waste-pickers generate income more<br />

efficiently, without having to scavenge<br />

through the neighbourhood’s bins.<br />

n<br />

Start composting your organic waste to<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

help stop the generation of methane<br />

gas on rubbish dumps.<br />

Rinse and air-dry items – especially<br />

food containers.<br />

Separate items (bag, box or bin) AT<br />

LEAST into garbage for the landfill and<br />

recyclable items for the waste-picker to<br />

use, recycle or resell.<br />

Leave edible food protected and<br />

outside the rubbish bin. There are<br />

more hungry people out there than you<br />

can begin to imagine.<br />

Leave useable items – clothes, shoes,<br />

bedding, books, etc. – in a separate bag.<br />

Treat everyone you meet with respect!<br />

Here’s what you can do to make<br />

a difference as a business |<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

Start recycling!<br />

Start separating and composting<br />

organic waste to save landfill space!<br />

Eliminate unnecessary packaging from<br />

your products.<br />

Use biodegradable packaging instead<br />

of plastic.<br />

Create central drop-off points on your<br />

premises where the public and other<br />

businesses can drop off recyclables.<br />

Allow waste-pickers to sort and recycle<br />

the rubbish for their own benefit.<br />

If you run a pay-point for waste-pickers,<br />

consider making the following available:<br />

• Sturdy trolleys. (If you brand them, you<br />

can treat it as a social responsibility<br />

expense, even though it will provide<br />

advertising exposure for your business.)<br />

• Protective clothing.<br />

• Ablution facilities where waste-pickers<br />

can have a shower.<br />

• Food parcels.<br />

• A nurse to monitor health conditions.<br />

• Access to financial services and a bank<br />

card to reduce the risk of carrying cash.<br />

• A business loan to purchase a bakkie to<br />

transport waste.<br />

Here’s what you can do to make<br />

a difference as a policy-maker |<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

n<br />

Incorporate waste-pickers into our<br />

country’s waste-management /<br />

recycling efforts.<br />

Install public litter bins that require<br />

the public to separate waste: plastic,<br />

glass, paper, rubbish for the dump.<br />

Give waste-pickers the task of emptying<br />

recyclable content regularly, thereby<br />

adding to their potential income and<br />

keeping our streets litter-free. Install<br />

these EVERYWHERE where people litter.<br />

Enforce existing littering laws.<br />

Supply recycling bins to all households,<br />

complexes and offices. Make it<br />

compulsory to sort waste.<br />

Supply composting bins, free of<br />

charge, on request from households<br />

and businesses that want to compost<br />

organic matter to fertilise their gardens.<br />

Freely download a number of excellent<br />

publications, including Waste Picker<br />

Integration Guideline For <strong>South</strong><br />

Africa from the Waste Research<br />

Development and Innovation (RDI)<br />

Roadmap | A Government initiative<br />

aimed at supporting <strong>South</strong> Africa’s<br />

transition to a circular economy,<br />

through the generation of scientific<br />

evidence for the waste sector | www.<br />

wasteroadmap.co.za<br />

Kindly report missing or incorrect information<br />

to talk.to.us@southafricanconversations.co.za<br />

n


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southafricanCONVERSATiONS


No matter which side of the divide you live in,<br />

we’d love to hear from you!<br />

Photo of HOUTBAY / IMIZAMO YETHU <strong>South</strong> Africa © Johnny Miller | www.UnequalScenes.com<br />

We pay R2 per published word<br />

and R200 per published photograph.<br />

talk.to.us@southafricanconversations<br />

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south<br />

african<br />

CONVER<br />

SATiONS<br />

Challenging<br />

the divide


32<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

Photo: iStock<br />

Because my mouth<br />

Is wide with laughter<br />

And my throat<br />

Is deep with song,<br />

You do not think<br />

I suffer after<br />

I have held my pain<br />

So long?<br />

Because my mouth<br />

Is wide with laughter,<br />

You do not hear<br />

My inner cry?<br />

Because my feet<br />

Are gay with dancing,<br />

You do not know<br />

I die?<br />

– Minstrel Man by Langston Hughes, Black American poet


Maids & madams<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

Know your rights!<br />

... and do the right thing.<br />

(and obligations)<br />

33<br />

An employee who is registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), would be able<br />

to claim the following benefits should they lose their job: • Financial support equivalent<br />

to 15 days’ worth of pay • Registration as a work-seeker with the Department of Labour •<br />

Free training and counselling • Benefits for their children. • And more.<br />

So, please do the necessary to protect the people who work for you. You can do it all over the phone<br />

or online. Call 012 337 1680 between 8 am to 6.30 pm on weekdays, and between 8 am to 12 noon<br />

on Saturdays. Or write to domestics@uif.gov.za or go to http://www.labour.gov.za and search for<br />

‘unemployment-insurance-fund-uif/ document’. Or contact the Department of Labour or a Labour Centre<br />

near you. Failure to register a domestic worker for UIF – even if she works for only 24 hours a month<br />

– could land you a hefty fine and even jail time.<br />

If you are a ‘madam’<br />

First of all, recognise that you are a<br />

just a human being – just like your<br />

‘maid’. Be kind. Be fair.<br />

Go to www.labour.gov.za and search<br />

for ‘domestic workers’. You’ll find the<br />

basic laws that govern employment,<br />

plus a whole lot of very useful<br />

information specific to domestic<br />

workers.<br />

You may not know, for instance, that<br />

if you expect your domestic worker to<br />

work outside her normal, contracted<br />

hours, you must pay her 1.5 times the<br />

normal rate on Saturdays, and double<br />

the normal rate on Sundays.<br />

If her work-day falls on a public<br />

holiday, you must pay her for the day,<br />

but she is not required to work that<br />

day. If she does, you must pay her for<br />

the holiday and for working. And don’t<br />

grunt at this. What would YOU do if<br />

your boss refuses to pay you for the<br />

public holidays in a month?<br />

And you cannot not pay your<br />

domestic worker because YOU<br />

went away on the day that she was<br />

supposed to work.<br />

You also cannot fire her without giving<br />

her at least three written warnings<br />

and discussing what behaviour you<br />

want her to change. Even then, you<br />

have to give her four weeks’ written<br />

notice, or one week’s written notice<br />

if she has worked for you for less<br />

than six months. You must then pay<br />

severance pay equivalent to one<br />

week’s salary for each year that she<br />

has worked for you.<br />

If you are a ‘maid’<br />

First of all, recognise that you are a<br />

human being – just like your ‘madam’.<br />

Be kind. Be fair. And insist on your<br />

rights.<br />

1. It is within your rights to ask<br />

your employer for a contract of<br />

employment and for proof of<br />

registration with the Unemployment<br />

Insurance Fund (UIF). This is your<br />

protection in case you become<br />

unemployed.<br />

2. Learn about your rights and<br />

obligations at www.sadsawu.com – It<br />

is the <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong> Domestic Service<br />

and Allied Workers’ Union. You can<br />

contact SADSAWU in Johannesburg:<br />

011 331 1001 and in Cape Town: 021<br />

448 0045.<br />

3. If you have a dispute with your<br />

employer and need advice, contact<br />

the Department of Labour in Pretoria<br />

on 012 309 4000 for information<br />

about a Labour office near you. Or<br />

find relevant contact information at<br />

www.labour.gov.za/DOL/contacts<br />

4. If you have been unfairly<br />

dismissed, contact the Commission<br />

for Conciliation, Mediation &<br />

Arbitration (CCMA) on their toll-free<br />

number: 0861 16 16 16 or write to:<br />

complaints@ccma.org.za There is a<br />

lot of useful information on their site:<br />

www.ccma.org.za The Commission<br />

listens to both parties in a dispute<br />

and helps them reach an amicable<br />

and fair solution in accordance with<br />

the law.<br />

5. If you have been unfairly treated<br />

and you can’t get help anywhere,<br />

contact the Black Sash for free<br />

paralegal support and advice on their<br />

free helpline: 072 66 33 739 or write<br />

to them at help@blacksash.org.za<br />

Black Sash works to empower<br />

marginalised people to speak for<br />

themselves.<br />

www.blacksash.org.za


34<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

Respect<br />

for life<br />

starts<br />

with respect<br />

for all<br />

living things<br />

What it took to become<br />

a Nazi SS Officer<br />

It is alleged that at the beginning<br />

of their training each SS officer in<br />

Nazi Germany received a dog – the<br />

only living thing they were allowed<br />

to be close and affectionate with.<br />

Unbeknownst to these young<br />

officers, their training would be<br />

concluded only once they had<br />

murdered this close friend – coldbloodedly<br />

and in obedience to<br />

an unexpected request from the<br />

training officer. Unable to kill the<br />

dog, the trainee was not allowed to<br />

graduate to the status of SS officer.<br />

This fanatical exercise seems to<br />

have been designed to empty the<br />

individual of all tender concern for<br />

life. Able to kill his closest friend<br />

of many months, the officer was<br />

assumed able to kill any living<br />

creature without remorse.<br />

It is conventional wisdom that animal abuse<br />

precedes human violence. In reality, the two are<br />

often co-occurring and interwoven. Domestic<br />

abusers may harm or threaten animals to exert<br />

power over their human victims, to show what<br />

might happen to them, and to prevent victims from<br />

leaving or speaking about their abuse.<br />

When understood as part of a dynamic of violence, animal abuse<br />

cases present an opportunity to intervene and break the cycle.<br />

Domestic violence victims are generally reluctant to speak to<br />

outsiders about their abuse, but may more easily talk about what<br />

has happened to their pets. Likewise, outsiders will more readily<br />

report animal cruelty than suspicions of domestic violence. Since<br />

animal abuse is often the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for family violence,<br />

criminal behaviour and substance abuse, animal agencies have the<br />

opportunity to serve as first responders for families in crisis.<br />

‘It is evident that if a man practices a pitiful affection<br />

for animals, he is all the more disposed<br />

to take pity on his fellow-men.’<br />

– St Thomas Aquinas<br />

The frightening link<br />

between animal abuse<br />

and human violence<br />

Respect for life – respect for all<br />

living creatures – has long been the<br />

supreme principle of civilisation.<br />

‘If you have men who will<br />

exclude any of God’s creatures from<br />

the shelter of compassion and pity,<br />

you will have men who<br />

will deal likewise with their fellow<br />

men.’ – St. Francis of Assisi<br />

Photo: iStock


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

35<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

When people are violent and cruel<br />

towards animals, everyone is at risk.<br />

In recognition of the link between cruelty to animals<br />

and the abuse of women, children and the elderly,<br />

the US FBI has been tracking cases of animal abuse<br />

independently since 2016.<br />

[Source: www.thelinknm.com ]<br />

Here’s what the research shows:<br />

v 70% of animal abusers have criminal records.<br />

v 50% of schoolyard shooters have histories of<br />

animal cruelty.<br />

v 82% of offenders arrested for animal abuse had<br />

prior arrests for battery or drug charges.<br />

v 70% of people charged with cruelty to animals<br />

were known by police for other violent acts.<br />

v Animal abuse is a better predictor of sexual<br />

assault than convictions for homicide, arson, or<br />

firearms. Animal cruelty offenders committed<br />

an average of four different types of criminal<br />

offences, with sexual assault, domestic violence<br />

and firearms offences figuring prominently in<br />

their criminal histories.<br />

v 76% of animal abusers also abuse a family<br />

member according to the Association of<br />

Prosecuting Attorneys.<br />

v In a 2001 study by the US Humane Society, twothirds<br />

of animal abuse cases also involved abuse<br />

of a child.<br />

v Children exposed to domestic violence were<br />

three times more likely to be cruel to animals.<br />

v One-third of battered women reported that their<br />

children had hurt or killed animals.<br />

v In one-third of families investigated for child<br />

abuse, the children had also abused animals.<br />

v Children who were sexually abused were five<br />

times more likely to abuse animals.<br />

v Up to three-quarters of animal cruelty happens<br />

in the home occurs in front of children.<br />

Witnessing animal cruelty as a child was found to<br />

be the single biggest predictor of future violence,<br />

making children 8 times more likely to be violent.<br />

v A study of battered women found that nearly<br />

three-quarters reported that their abuser had<br />

hurt or threatened to hurt a pet; more than half<br />

said he had actually done it.<br />

v An assessment used by US law enforcement<br />

lists the top three indicators that a woman is in<br />

danger of being killed by her abuser as:<br />

1. Gestures/threats of homicide/suicide.<br />

2. Access to weapons.<br />

3. Threats to hurt or kill pets.<br />

What can be done?<br />

v<br />

v<br />

v<br />

Recognise that animals feel fear, pain, hunger,<br />

thirst, cold, loneliness … like all sentient beings.<br />

Teach this to children. Teach them to be kind to<br />

animals, to care for and respect them.<br />

If you’re a professional dealing with domestic<br />

violence victims, do ask about the companion<br />

animals to gauge the level of threat.<br />

v<br />

v<br />

v<br />

Insist on the enforcement of laws that protect<br />

animals. Be willing to get involved in the legal<br />

proceedings.<br />

Get affected family members AND THEIR PETS out<br />

of harm’s way.<br />

Domestic violence shelters must help with<br />

housing or finding shelter for pets.<br />

v<br />

Children tend to speak easily about their pets,<br />

which provides an opportunity for intervention.<br />

v<br />

Include companion animals in protection/<br />

restraining orders.<br />

v<br />

v<br />

Veterinarians must report suspected cases of<br />

animal abuse to the relevant authorities.<br />

Report ALL forms of violence and abuse before<br />

they escalate.<br />

v<br />

Report cruelty, abuse and neglect of animals to<br />

an SPCA near you. And call the police. If possible,<br />

take photographs/videos as evidence. n


36<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

CRISiS<br />

PREGNANCY<br />

What are the Options?<br />

‘You may feel immediate relief for getting<br />

rid of your ‘problem’, but dumping the life<br />

you carried in your body for nine months will<br />

haunt you for the rest of your days –<br />

even if that life was the result of rape.<br />

Make another plan before the baby is born.’<br />

– Mampe Pekosela<br />

Photo: iStock<br />

1. Parenting. Give birth and<br />

raise the child.<br />

2. Adoption. Give birth and<br />

permanently give your child to<br />

another person or family.<br />

3 . Abortion. Take medication<br />

or have a medical procedure<br />

that ends the pregnancy<br />

within 12 weeks of conception.<br />

Dumping or abandoning a baby is<br />

not an option. It is a crime. And it<br />

could lead to a charge of attempted<br />

murder or, if the baby dies, a charge<br />

of murder.<br />

Most abandoned babies are<br />

discovered dead or die soon<br />

afterwards.<br />

Even so, thousands of <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong><br />

babies are dumped in pit latrines,<br />

fields and rubbish bins every year.<br />

Overwhelming poverty, AIDS,<br />

violence and rape, lack of family<br />

support and lack of information<br />

about options lead mothers to<br />

abandon their babies.<br />

When economies turn down,<br />

the number of babies that are<br />

abandoned increases the world<br />

over – not just in <strong>South</strong> Africa.<br />

Many desperate mothers may well<br />

act differently if they are aware of<br />

alternatives.<br />

There is a fourth option:<br />

leaving the baby in a safe place,<br />

without anyone knowing who<br />

you are. It is known as safe,<br />

anonymous relinquishment.<br />

This option has no legal backing<br />

in <strong>South</strong> Africa, yet more<br />

and more compassionate<br />

organisations are offering it<br />

because it saves lives.


southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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37<br />

Safe relinquishment makes it<br />

possible for a mother to leave her<br />

baby in a designated safe space at<br />

any time of the day or night.<br />

Such safe havens for babies are<br />

called by many names: Baby Bin,<br />

Baby Box, Baby Hatch, Baby Safe,<br />

Baby Saver or Moses Basket.<br />

It is usually a box with a door on<br />

both sides, built into a wall.<br />

The mother opens the door on<br />

the street side, places the baby on<br />

the soft inside of the box, closes<br />

the door and walks away without<br />

anyone ever knowing who she is.<br />

There are no cameras and no one<br />

will try to trace her, afterwards.<br />

The weight of the baby on the<br />

little mattress inside the box will<br />

trigger a silent alarm, notifying<br />

first responders of the arrival of a<br />

baby. They will open the box from<br />

their side of the wall and take the<br />

baby to safety within minutes of<br />

its arrival. The baby will be cared<br />

for and transferred to a child<br />

protection agency that will register<br />

the birth and place the child in a<br />

home for children, a foster home<br />

or with an adoptive family.<br />

Lessons from history<br />

and other countries<br />

The first case of ‘safe abandonment’<br />

is documented in the Bible. After<br />

the Egyptian Pharaoh had ordered<br />

all Israelite first-born male babies<br />

to be killed, Jochebed looked for a<br />

way to save her newborn son. She<br />

made a waterproof basket of reeds<br />

and left him in it, floating on the<br />

Nile River. The Pharaoh’s daughter<br />

discovered the baby and guessed<br />

he was an Israelite, which meant<br />

that he would certainly be killed<br />

if he was discovered. Moved with<br />

compassion, she decided to bring<br />

the baby up herself. She called him<br />

Moses. Instead of certain death,<br />

Moses grew up in a palace and<br />

eventually became the leader of his<br />

people.<br />

A baby that is found and cared for<br />

by others is called a foundling.<br />

Throughout history, safe spaces<br />

had been created where<br />

people (typically mothers) could<br />

anonymously bring newborn<br />

babies to be found and cared<br />

for. A foundling wheel was used<br />

in the Middle Ages and the 18th<br />

and 19th centuries – a small crib<br />

set within an opening similar to a<br />

revolving door, on the outside wall<br />

of a church, hospital or fire station.<br />

Once the mother had placed the<br />

baby inside the wheel, she would<br />

turn it so that the opening faced<br />

the inside of the building. She<br />

would then sound a bell to alert<br />

people inside that there was a<br />

baby in the wheel.<br />

Foundling wheels in France were<br />

legalised by imperial decree in<br />

1811, although the first known<br />

foundling home had already been<br />

in operation in Paris in 1638.<br />

Modern baby savers began to<br />

be introduced in 1952 and have<br />

become common around the<br />

world. They are called a ‘life cradle’<br />

in Italy, ‘the wheel’ in Sicily, ‘baby<br />

post box’ in Japan, ‘baby safety<br />

island’ in China, ‘window of life’<br />

in Poland, and ‘baby hatch’ in<br />

Germany. The first baby saver in<br />

<strong>South</strong> Africa was known as ‘the<br />

hole in the wall’, introduced by<br />

Door of Hope Children’s Mission in<br />

July 1999, in Johannesburg.<br />

All 50 States in the US have<br />

decriminalised the leaving of<br />

infants at designated safe places<br />

under the Baby Moses Law. Since<br />

adopting these safe-haven laws<br />

more than 4,500 infants have been<br />

surrendered between 1999 and<br />

2021 in Texas alone.<br />

Namibia is currently the only<br />

<strong>African</strong> country with baby saver<br />

haven laws, which were introduced<br />

in January 2019.<br />

Several European countries have<br />

passed laws that allow anonymous<br />

births in hospitals, free of charge,<br />

with the mother allowed to leave<br />

the baby there, after giving birth.<br />

Anonymous hospital births now<br />

greatly outnumber the use of baby<br />

savers in these countries.<br />

In Germany, relinquished babies<br />

are looked after for eight weeks<br />

during which the mother may<br />

return and claim her child without<br />

any legal repercussions. If she<br />

doesn’t, the child becomes a ward<br />

of the State. In Austria, the period<br />

for reclaiming a baby is 6 months.<br />

A surprising number of mothers<br />

return to claim their babies.<br />

Makes one think, doesn’t it? n<br />

ARE YOU THINKING TO<br />

ABANDON YOUR BABY?<br />

Please don’t! There are people<br />

and organisations out there<br />

that will help you.<br />

Call 0800 864 658 and talk<br />

with someone about adoption<br />

as an option. They will help<br />

you.<br />

(It is free and you don’t have to<br />

say who you are)<br />

Or visit www.adoption.org.za<br />

for more information.


38<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

grandmothers<br />

holding families together all over <strong>South</strong> Africa<br />

Grandmothers in historically<br />

disadvantaged <strong>South</strong> Africa have<br />

always played a big role in the<br />

upbringing of their grandchildren.<br />

This tradition is not a cultural<br />

one, but one fashioned by the<br />

demands of apartheid. Black<br />

people were not allowed to be<br />

in ‘white’ areas unless they had<br />

a work permit to be there. They<br />

were certainly not allowed to<br />

bring their families with them.<br />

Husbands and wives worked far<br />

apart from each other and from<br />

their rural homes where they<br />

were forced to leave their children<br />

in the care of a grandmother<br />

or auntie. The trend continues,<br />

because the majority of black<br />

mothers simply don’t earn<br />

enough to bring their families<br />

with them to the towns and the<br />

cities where the jobs are. Besides,<br />

the places which they can afford<br />

as accommodation are often<br />

unsafe, or simply don’t have<br />

enough space to accommodate<br />

a family – like the ‘maid’s rooms’<br />

in previously white back yards<br />

everywhere in our country. So, the<br />

children are still left with gogo.<br />

There is another reason,<br />

nowadays, why millions of<br />

grandmothers are bringing up<br />

their grandchildren: they are<br />

either nursing their own children<br />

who are dying of AIDS or they<br />

have buried them.


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Photo | Tshikululu Social Investments | www.tshikululu.org.za | Courtesy of the First Rand Foundation<br />

All over <strong>South</strong> Africa, these<br />

grandmothers are holding families<br />

together despite their grief –<br />

often taking care of as many as<br />

ten children on a meagre state<br />

pension and, if she’s lucky, some<br />

piece jobs.<br />

At a time when she really should<br />

be able to rest, her life is filled<br />

with toil and suffering ... and<br />

desperate poverty that she knows<br />

will have dire consequences for<br />

her grandchildren.<br />

Here's what YOU can do to make a difference<br />

• Stop justifying paying the minimum<br />

wage to the women who clean<br />

your house and support your life.<br />

They are someone’s mother, auntie,<br />

grandmother ... and the quality of their<br />

lives is at your mercy.<br />

• Start a support group at your church,<br />

school or community center for the<br />

women who take care of children in<br />

their communities. Find out what they<br />

need and start helping them practically<br />

and materially.<br />

• Give them access to information.<br />

Make sure they know how to apply for<br />

available social grants ... How to protect<br />

themselves from getting HIV infected<br />

when caring for an AIDS patient ... How<br />

to grow vegetables to feed their family<br />

... How to draw up a will to make sure<br />

that their grandchildren will inherit<br />

what is rightfully theirs ... How to<br />

protect their human rights and what to<br />

do if they are being abused ... How to<br />

cope with the changing needs of their<br />

growing grandchildren – including the<br />

need for sex-education ... How to cope<br />

with pain and loss ... And any other<br />

subjects they want to know about. n


40<br />

40<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

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These are words used in this issue of the magazine.<br />

If you look up the meaning of every word you don’t<br />

know, you’ll soon have an incredible vocabulary.<br />

Dictionary<br />

Accessible: the quality of being able to be reached or<br />

entered<br />

Accordance: in a manner conforming with<br />

Accuracy: the quality or state of being correct or precise<br />

Activist: a person who campaigns for change<br />

Adequate: satisfactory or acceptable in quality or<br />

quantity<br />

Adverse: preventing success or development; harmful<br />

Affluent: having a great deal of money; wealthy<br />

Agenda: a list of items to be discussed<br />

Alter: change in character or composition<br />

Amicable: characterized by friendliness<br />

Appropriately: in a manner that is proper in the<br />

circumstances<br />

Arbitrate: reach an authoritative settlement<br />

Augment: make (something) greater by adding to it<br />

Avoidance: keeping away from or not doing something<br />

Bureaucracy: excessively complicated administrative<br />

procedure<br />

Capability: the power or ability to do something<br />

Capacity: the maximum amount that something can<br />

contain<br />

Civility: formal politeness and courtesy in behaviour or<br />

speech<br />

Cohesion: the action or fact of forming a united whole<br />

Collaborate: work jointly on an activity or project<br />

Collectively: as a group; as a whole<br />

Comprise: consist of; be made up of<br />

Condescension: an attitude of patronizing superiority;<br />

Conviviality: the quality of being friendly and lively<br />

Cosmopolitan: including people from many different<br />

countries<br />

Deficiency: a lack or shortage<br />

Demystify: make something easier to understand<br />

Discord: disagreement between people; lack of harmony<br />

Disseminate: spread (especially information) widely<br />

Dissident: a person who opposes official policy<br />

Enshrine: preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form<br />

that ensures it will be protected and respected<br />

Entrench: establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly<br />

that change is very difficult or unlikely<br />

Equate: consider (one thing) to be the same as or<br />

equivalent to another<br />

Eradicate: destroy completely; put an end to<br />

Erode: gradually destroy or be gradually destroyed<br />

Exacerbate: make (a problem or bad situation) worse<br />

Expatriate: a person who lives outside their native country<br />

Fragment: a small part separated from something<br />

Hamper: hinder or impede the movement or progress of<br />

Impair: weaken or damage<br />

Incalculable: too great to be calculated or estimated<br />

Incomprehensible: not able to be understood<br />

Infrastructure: the physical structures and facilities (e.g.<br />

buildings, roads, power supplies) of a society or enterprise<br />

Inherent: existing in something as a characteristic attribute<br />

Integrate: combine (one thing) with another to form a whole<br />

Intermittently: at irregular intervals<br />

Intervene: take part so as to prevent or alter a result<br />

Intrinsic: belonging naturally; essential<br />

Intrude: put oneself deliberately into a situation where one is<br />

uninvited<br />

Languish: lose or lack vitality; grow weak<br />

Liability: the state of being legally responsible for something<br />

Malnutrition: lack of proper nutrition caused by not having<br />

enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things to eat<br />

Marginalise: treatment of a person, group or concept as<br />

insignificant<br />

Millennium: a period of a thousand years<br />

Mobilise: prepare and organize<br />

Moderate: average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree; not<br />

radical Mortality: the state of being subject to death<br />

Myopic: short-sighted; lacking foresight or intellectual insight<br />

Obligation: a duty or commitment<br />

Optimal: best or most favourable<br />

Origin: the point or place where something begins<br />

Oust: drive out or expel (someone) from a position or place<br />

Perpetuate: make (something) continue indefinitely<br />

Persecution: hostility and ill-treatment; oppression<br />

Plight: a dangerous, difficult or unfortunate situation<br />

Precedent: an earlier event or action regarded as an example<br />

to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances<br />

Premise: an assertion that forms the basis for something<br />

Preserve: maintain (something) in its original or existing state<br />

Prior: existing or coming before in time, order, or importance<br />

Proclaim: announce officially or publicly<br />

Profound: (of a state, quality, or emotion) very great or intense<br />

Prospect: the possibility of some future event occurring<br />

Reminiscent: tending to remind one of something<br />

Reprisal: an act of retaliation<br />

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something<br />

Robust: strong and healthy; vigorous<br />

Sensationalist: a person who presents stories in a way that<br />

is intended to provoke public interest or excitement at the<br />

expense of accuracy<br />

Signify: be an indication of<br />

Subversion: undermining the power and authority of a system<br />

Succulent: having thick fleshy leaves or stems adapted to<br />

storing water<br />

Surplus: something left over after requirements are met<br />

Synonymous: having the same meaning as another word<br />

Unacknowledged: not accepted, recognized, or admitted to<br />

Unfettered: not confined or restricted<br />

Wastrel: a wasteful or good-for-nothing person


50 Shades<br />

of Love<br />

southafrican CONVERSATiONS<br />

<strong>sample</strong> content<br />

41<br />

1. Passion 2. Joy 3. Intimacy 4. Respect 5. Friendship 6. Sacrifice 7. Compassion<br />

8. Freedom 9. Inside Jokes 10. Safety 11. Laughter 12. Generosity<br />

13. Consideration 14. Adventure 15. Excitement 16. Loyalty 17. Trust<br />

18. Butterflies 19. Hope 20. Quality Time 21. Service 22. Empathy 23. Connection<br />

24. Admiration 25. Patience 26. Appreciation 27. Commitment 28. Communication<br />

29. Growth 30. Imperfection 31. Affection 32. Tenderness 33. Affirmation<br />

34. Teamwork 35. Kindness 36. Equality 37. Pleasure 38. Compromise<br />

39. Partnership 40. Independence 41. Happiness 42. Honesty 43. Devotion<br />

44. Faithfulness 45. Fulfilment 46. Romance 47. Support<br />

48. Family 49. Togetherness 50. Understanding<br />

Photo: Jessica Felicio<br />

Order the poster at www.southafricanconversations.co.za/shop


R50. The equivalent of<br />

two cups of coffee per month.<br />

That’s what it takes<br />

to help a self-employed<br />

fellow <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong><br />

make a living, selling<br />

<strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong><br />

<strong>Conversations</strong> – the<br />

magazine.<br />

Sellers earn 50% of the cover price.<br />

Participating NPOs earn R8.50 per copy sold.<br />

Just imagine how many lives could change<br />

with affluent <strong>South</strong> <strong>African</strong>s’ small change.<br />

south<br />

african<br />

CONVER<br />

SATiONS<br />

Challenging<br />

the divide<br />

www.southafricanconversations.co.za/magazine | 021 300 0547

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