Showing posts from April, 2013

The scourge of the single-mother

As a teacher I have come to appreciate some of the challenges that teenagers have to face: teenage pregnancy, drug-use, sex education in relation to the myths they hear from friends! All these ills are often clumped under  the portmanteau word: peer-pressure. Beyond these challenges, access to quality education and opportunities that will ward off poverty also form part of the teenage-question. In truth, the list is endless.
What is also often included in the list of the many social ills that plague young people is the question of family structures. For many working class teens the prospect of being in a child-headed home is a real possibility or a home where the mother is the primary care-giver, raising a child (or children) alone. As someone who was raised by a mother who opted for divorce and a grandmother who raised six children alone, I am often uncomfortable when single-mothers are lumped into the list of social ills that I’ve listed above.
My purpose is not to glorify the exp…

R50 000 and homelessness

Last week Sunday I visited SA National Gallery in town. The current exhibition, Umhlaba commemorates the Land Act of 1913. I find it a strange thing to refer to the process of remembering the Land Act as a commemoration. I have always thought that commemorations are meant to celebrate rather than draw memories back into a dark past that still lives with us today.

A week before visiting this exhibition Mama had called me telling me about the new tv she had acquired. My mother is unemployed (and has been since I was 7 years old and thus depends on my sisters and I for support).I asked her where she got the money from and she told me my Grandmother's claim from the land commission had finally come and the money was divided amongst her and her sisters. I was seething with anger. Initially I thought I was angry because she had bought a tv and some clothes for her granddaughter, my niece, and had decided to save very little of the money she had received. But this is not the reason for m…

The absurdity of the Rainbow nation

1994. I was in Grade 1. New grade in a new school in the new South Africa. I was one of the throngs of black children whose parents had decided to enroll into former white schools which started integrating in the late 1980s and early 1990s, “Model C schools”. I was the only black child in the Sub A classroom .There were four Sub A classes in the school and the other three classes had an equally dubious representation of black learners in each classroom. Thus, in 1994 when the promise of the rainbow nation was being bandied about, my angst about integration began to take root in my psyche (and reasons for being the only black person in the class will be a conversation for another day).
I realise that across the country there are many black people who can share their experience of being the only black person in a sea of white faces, the proverbial or literal “black at the dinner table”. Whenever I find myself in a situation where I am the “only black at the dinner table” (proverbial or l…