Words, Visions, Dreams, Voices of an African Woman Expressed by Thulisa Qangule
In the name of keeping what we have, we have become incubators for abuse, exploitation and pain in South Africa.
We keep sweeping this issue underneath our doors and yet its remnants accumulate.
The day will come when the wind blows these remnants in our faces and we shall be embarrassed.
Exploiting the bad economic situation and sentiments of many that we are to be grateful for all we have, a lot of loose strings are running our workforce to the ground.
How many of us do not have a voice?
Too many to consider.
The whole labour act has become nothing but a paper-thin philosophy.
The South African government doesn’t seem to have a grip on the private sector. This gap has created room for much nonsense. Too much!
As I write this, I am an unemployed South African citizen. A Hardworking one. A person who has been declared ‘amazing’ so many times that the word has become somewhat derogatory in my ears.
What does ‘amazing’ mean when I have nothing to show for it? Less than nothing… *sigh*
I remember days and times, prior to the economic recession, when I worked hard and you know what?
Organisations I worked for gave reward and credit when it was due. That made perfect sense in my world.
I remember a day and time when I didn’t mind grovelling if I had to because a glance at my bank balance and what I was able to do with what I got made it all make sense.
I remember a time when calling in sick didn’t mean I had to get criminally checked like an entity worse than Osama, but really meant I was sick and needed time off.
Why aren’t we speaking about these things?
We have nobody to speak TO about these things.
According to Labour Law, an employee needs to produce a medical certificate if they have been unwell and off work for 2 days or more. A medical certificate is necessary IF time off was taken on a Monday or Friday.
I produced a medical certificate and was informed it wasn’t enough. Along with that, I had to produce medical reports.
Having notified this employer that I hadn’t been feeling well, my late arrival @ the office was used as a persecutor’s tool to not ONLY question my loyalty and commitment but to defame my character and erroneously charge me with ‘breach of company values of commitment and loyalty’.
Let me describe the back-drop of the above-circumstances.
My health had taken a turn for the negative because the very values of team-work had been breached. In a team of 4 people, one person felt he has the right to shove all his work to the rest of us.
Need I say more…
Out the door goes time-keeping and planning.
Out the door goes any form of KPI compliance as we all had to ambi-dexterously manage our workloads, as well as this other person.
The protectionism and favouritism didn’t do anyone justice either.
Let’s not even speak about the hierachy thing because then, the very perpetraitor is the spokesperson to senior management and in most instances, staff will be blocked from having liaisons with management, in case traces of the truth begin to trickle out.
That was amidst dealing with negation. What’s the point of encouraging discussion if every idea and suggestion will be put down?
This was in fact, NOT management, it felt more like a ‘monitoring’ situation to detect how ‘wakker-op’ / awake we all were/are to the reality so that we get silenced if we even consider speaking up.
This wasn’t even the saddest part though.
What drags my heart through what seems to be an endless string of thorns is the fact that, the very company where these things were playing out is the back-bone of corporate governance in South Africa.
It feels like being in a situation where your own bodyguard turns on you and rapes you. To whom do you speak.
I resorted to just leaving, for my own sanity and health.
I wondered just how common this might be in our country, and of course…Much worse, to many men and women whose lives and stories are supposedly insignificant.
Men and women who aren’t able to digitally articulate their sentiments.
We wonder why there are so many strikes?
We wonder why the morale of our people is so low?
We do not sit and listen and hear each other out. We walk with pre-prepared speeches and ideas about what is, should and should not be and this robs us of the real opportunity to see and assess things as they are in South Africa- TODAY!
What about your bills?
What about your CV?
You will seem unstable…
Excuse me??? Come again…
It is MORE UNSTABLE to remain in a toxic situation, swallow s to the hit with pride and keep smiling. Doing so turns me into the psycho masochist who has learned to please others at the detriment of self.
Free yourself…Liberate yourself…Think Positive…
There’s a limit.
If one has to walk healthy along lanes and highways filled with nuclear-level toxicity all around, then insanity isn’t too far behind.
The many subtle forms of abuse extend to domestic situations.
How many times do we hear people carry on about how successful they are and how well they are doing and how strong they are? How many times?
I know quite a few who are in reality obtaining all these things at the cost of others, normally relatives, the unfortunate, poorer relatives. Yes. I went there.
The male or female Diva whom we hear cannot take care of his/her own kids and the responsibility weighs other people down. Often there’s a sister, a brother or cousin in the family doing thaaat job and for P-R purposes we read:
‘A mother of…and also a … and a …’
Let’s scratch that!
The people who barely know to flush the toilet and yet have sparkly clean homes because again, someone, perhaps a helper has been coerced, ill-treated and under-paid to get all the ‘nasties’ flushed for them.
Let us learn to take long, hard and honest looks at ourselves.
How often is it that the very people from whom credit is snatched are abused and treated as though they are beneath slavery? Too often to mention.
These people, are our co-habitants in this country. Our family members. Our neighbours. Our beloveds.
Yet we continue with nonsensical Kumbaya statements to the Public about Labour and Human Rights…
Keep thinking, I have stopped writing.