Abet: Our ABET learners tell us their stories

Thanks to all the ABET learners for sending us in their stories. Unfortunately we could not publish them all in this Numsa News. Watch out for them in the next Numsa News.

Keep sending your stories. We will keep publishing your stories until they stop coming!It was too hard to decide which was the best story so instead we put all these writers’ stories into a hat and the first writer that was drawn out of the hat was declared the winner.Congratulations to Thunga Ngcoza you are the lucky winner.

Viva Books who are sponsoring the prize will be sending your book directly to you. Viva Books publish books for ABET learners. If you want to contact them, do so on:

PO Box 23203 Claremont,Cape Town 7735.Telephone: 021-674 6400Fax: 021-674 6401e-mail: vivabook@iafrica.com

Dear Numsa News

I am very happy to write this letter to you to tell you why I am doing this ABET.

It was a great thing to me to have ABET in this company. It helped me a lot. It was not easy for me to help my children with homework and even for me to read and write.

Now I can do all these things on my own.

Zamile Manene, level 2, Continental Tyre


My name is Meshack and I am 48 years old. I am an ABET learner at Dunlop Rubber Mouldings in Krugersdorp. Since I started attending ABET classes, things are becoming easy, especially in reading and calculations. I was not able to read and write clearly, but now there is a huge difference.

I appeal to all people who did not have a chance to attend school to attend ABET, you will never regret it. ABET is really making a difference in people’s lives and you should motivate yourself to also attend their classes. What surprises me is to see some people dropping out from ABET classes and I don’t know why.

Let me tell you my friends, there is no easy way to a better future. If you think it’s like manna from heaven, you are making the biggest mistake of your life. Think about what Merseta and Project Literacy are doing for us. I challenge you to attend their classes and to help make a difference and better ourselves.

Meshack, Dunlop Rubber Mouldings, Krugersdorp——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-The story I read in ABET class

Mr Smith looks at Petrus and says: “Why will I fire you Petrus? You are such a good workers. The test is to find out how much you know about English.” “I want to start a literacy class to help my workers. We will have lessons every Thursday morning. I want to help to teach everyone to read and write.”

Petrus cannot believe his ears. He is so excited. “But sir, am I not too old to learn these things?” asks Petrus. Mr Smith smiles at Petrus and says – “Petrus you are never too old to learn.” Petrus feels much better now. He cannot wait for Thursday morning.

Petrus Masango, Level 2, Denorco ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-The hijackers

One day three hijackers got into the construction yard. They went to the manager as if they needed a job. When they were busy talking to the manager, they saw a key in the manager’s bakkie. They quickly got into the bakkie and ran away with the bakkie.

The manager tried to shoot and they shot back, the manager managed to shoot one hijacker. The hijackers shot the manger on the shoulder, unfortunately the hijackers collided the bakkie with a wall.

The manager phoned the police and the police came and wrote the statement. The hijackers were taken to gaol and the case was opened.

Jerome Mngomezulu, Level 3, Denorco ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Use this opportunity

After our first elections Numsa started negotiations with companies to educate workers.

I worked at Continental for 15 years. Continental trained us, gives practicals to students from UPE. This company gives us many trainings even to use machines and computers.

Many people in this company were not educated, that is why we must learn how to read and write because managers say we are making scraps.

I must also say thanks to Numsa because of ABET classes and shop stewards encourage us to attend those classes. Everyone must come and join us because now we can fill in a form, we can use computers.

Phambili with you Numsa and Continental. Viva

Mzukisi Makunga, Level 3, Continental Tyres

Susan My name is Susan Griffiths, a shopsteward at Actaris in Atlantis, Western Cape . I’ve started my ABET studies in 2002 with grade 10. I’m doing now my last year of grade 12. I’m in

my early 50s.

In our local we are three shopstewards who are currently doing ABET. Two of us are doing grade 12 and one is doing grade 10. My experience of studying since 2002, is very interesting because it is very different from what we did years ago. I’m fortunate that I don’t have dependants which make it easy for me to study. Earlier it was a bit difficult because I was responsible for my grandchild, so in between my studies I had to see to her as well.

Sometimes my studies have an effect on my shopstewards’ duties because I cannot always attend meetings, because I have to attend classes. These classes are from 19h00 till 21h00, on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. The study in itself is not very difficult because it is made easily understandable to accommodate us.

Susan Griffiths, Actaris, Atlantis – Grade 12

The role of the trade union in our workplaces

To be not a member of a trade union you are the prime victim of the capitalist.

During the early ’60s trade unions were banned in our country because employers and the government of the were against the ideas of the trade unionists. The employment was so much easy to get. The reason for that was workers were not protected to their employers.

The conditions of employment were bad and unsafe, injuries were continuously occurred. The employers were not listening to employees’ suggestions. If your supervisor asked you to work overtime you can’t say no otherwise you are dismissed. The employees were classified according to the colour of their skin – if your colour was in favour, you got better wages and better positions and the gender was also considered.

In 1980s trade unions were unbanned, they organised members from the workplaces and some new ones were formed. The workers joined in numbers hence they are now protected from their employers, working conditions were improved and workers are safe and injuries reduced.

The bargaining council was formed through the initiatives of the trade unions. Now we no longer depend on our colour or gender for the wage increase. Wage increases, working conditions are discussed between two parties that is the trade union and employers. The discussions will continue until they reach consensus.

I thank the trade unions for the service they rendered to help the workers of South Africa from the brutal capitalist.

Moses Mbanya, Level 4, Continental Tyre


My name is Goodman Makunga. I was born at Umtata in Transkei , Tyumbu Location.

I was born in 1959 on Monday January 1. I come from a big family. At the age of three years I went to school.

I started with level to level 7 at Tyumbu Primary School .

I left school because there was no money at home. I decided to work for my parents and brothers. I left my family at Umtata to go to Port Elizabeth .

In Port Elizabeth , I joined my uncle’s family. My uncle and my aunt helped me with money when I went to look for work. Fortunately within a month I got a job at Continental where I am working until now.

Now I am happy because I have a big house and a healthy family. My house is full with clothes and is round with fence.Goodman Makunga, level 2, Continental Tyre

ABET has changed my life

I was born in PE in Korsten. We were a big family. My father could not take me further with education. I decided to look for work so that I could help him because he was working alone.

I attended ABET school in Continental Tyre. My facilitator is Mrs Trish Stapleton. I am in level 4 now. I started in level 1 and she tried to console me to be more serious because she can see that I am capable of doing my studies. The time I started with ABET I knew nothing about mathematics. I started mathematics in level 1 and it is so interesting because I like it and I understand it very well. I has changed my life because I now understand mathematics and I can also teach me kids maths, show them their mistakes and show them things they don’t understand. I’m so glad maths is in demand and most of the people learn it, because in factories they employ people who have maths and science.

I appreciate the effort that Continental Tyre has made to let their workers have more education through ABET classes. I want the people to know that without Numsa we could not have ABET. All these three parties have played a big role in changing my life. Now I’m thinking of learning further up to University of South Africa .

Thunga Ngcoza, level 4, Continental Tyre