Gender – Women working underground

The new dispensation means both men and women can contest available opportunities in the workplace unlike during apartheid where employment of women was limited to low wage positions or to miserable kitchen heat.One such sphere where women are now competing for work is the mining industry. A small group of women risk their well-being by dipping down hundreds of meters to mine sought-after minerals in the belly of the earth.In this scenario they have to leave their families, friends and the comfort of their homes to make their living under the belly of earth. At the same time they fall into the temptation of losing control over what is happening in their families.Numsa News spoke to two women about the challenges they face and found that not everyone has the same problems.Zelda Moloto a single mother of two did not intend to work in a mine.”I was desperate due to family pressures,” said Moloto who works at the Temba Colliery Mine in the Vaal. Her children worry about her career choice: “My first born girl does not like it. She says she worries every time I go to work especially when there is a story about a mine collapsing on the news,” she added.She faces daily challenges from some male colleagues.”They make uncomfortable remarks sometimes because some still believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. During my first days at work, they used to undermine me. When I change the skof (night shift), their looks tell me that I cannot make it,” she said.When she works night shift she fears for the safety of her children. She has to find a friend that will come and look after her children while she is at work. But Bridgett Malaya, who works underground at the same mine as her husband, sees things with a different eye.Malaya says working underground is just like working outside: “Things have changed now. Men respect us and help where necessary,” says Malaya.Although her mother is worried about her daughter’s job choice, Malaya says her husband encouraged her.”I wanted to see and experience how gold is dug, cleaned and cooked. I also wanted to know more than what I see on television. Underground we have medical stations, offices, toilets, we don’t always walk on our knees,” says Malaya whose job it is to operate the machine transmitter.While women now take their places alongside men underground, being a single mother places an extra burden on women mineworkers who must find someone to take care of their children when they are down under at night.

Paulina Mohale

Abesifazane abasebenza ngaphansi komgodiAbesifazane abasebenza ngaphansi komgodi banolwazi olwehlukile. Abanye bathola ukuthi amadoda ayabeseka kanti amanye anemibuzo ngamandla abo okwenza izinto ikakhulukazi uma kuza ekusebenzeni ebusuku.Kunzima kakhulu komama abangabodwa ukusebenza ngaphansi komgodi kunabesifazane abashadile.

Vroue wat ondergronds werkVroue wat ondergronds in die myne werk het gemengde ervarings. Sommige van hulle kry ondersteuning van mans, terwyl andere voel dat mans hulle vermoí«ns betwyfel, veral wanneer dit kom by nagskof werk.Dit is moeiliker vir enkelma’s om ondergronds te werk as vir getroude vroue.

Basadi ba sebetsang ka tlase mokoting.Basadi ba sebetsang ka tlase mokoting merafong ba bile le boiphihlelo bo fapaneng. Ba bang ba fumane banna ba sebetsang le bona ba ba tshehetsa ha ba bang bona ba fumane hore banna ba moo ba belaela bokgoni ba bona haholoholo ha ho tl tabeng ya ho sebetsa bosiu.Ho boima haholo hore bomme ba se nang banna ba sebetse ka tlase mokoting ho ena le bomme ba nang le banna.

It’s not the end of life

Doris Nqetho

Even though she became so sick after starting on anti retrovirals (ARVs) that she was hospitalised, Sindi Shomela wants everyone to know how her life has changed for the better since she confronted her illness.Shomela, who is working for Sasol in Margate, is HIV positive. After she was diagnosed in October, further tests showed that her CD4 count was as low as 19. A CD4 count is considered extremely low when it falls below 200. “I was always feeling tired, unable to perform my duties and having skin problems. I was encouraged by my friend who is HIV positive to go for Voluntary Counselling and Testing,” Shomela said. At the VCT she said she was so scared but told herself that results would be either positive or negative. “Really, the results were positive.” A few days later she went for a CD4 count test. “I was so shocked to hear that my CD4 count was 19. I was thinking it was the end of life,” Shomela said.The first week that she used ARVS, Shomela was hospitalised because of side effects. She was absent from work for a week. When she came back to her duties, she decided to disclose her status. The employer supported her with counselling and there was also training offered by her employer Sasol. Shomela says the training programme opened her eyes and the eyes of the other workers.”From the workers I do get some support but not from all. Some workers are scared of talking about it,” said Shomela.But in December 2006, when it was busy in the workplace, Shomela did not go to the doctor for her monthly check-up. As a result, she was disqualified from the treatment programme. She was so upset at stopping the treatment that she went to the hospital in January to start again.Through using ARV’s, eating good food and living a positive life, Shomela’s health improved. Today she is able to do her job properly and take care of her loved ones. She also wants to teach other workers to understand the disease and encourage them not to be shy to talk about HIV/Aids issues.

Akusikho ukuphela kwempiloUSindi Shomela, umsebenzi wase-Sasol e-Margate ufuna ukuthi wonke umuntu aqonde ngeNgculazi futhi uyabakhuthaza abantu ukuthi bangabi namahloni ngokukhuluma ngezindaba eziphathelene ne-HIV/AIDS.Ngaphambi kokuba ahlolelwe iNgculazi wayegula futhi wayengakwazi ukusebenza kahle. Manje usephuza izidambisigciwane, udla ukudla okufanele futhi uphila nempilo enhle. Konke lokhu kumsiza ukuthi enze umsebenzi wakhe kahle

Dit beteken nie die einde van jou lewe nieSindi Shomela, “˜n werker by Sasol in Margate wil híª almal moet VIGS verstaan, en moedig hulle aan om nie skaam te wees om oor MIV/VIGS-kwessies te praat nie.Voordat sy “˜n VIGS-toets gehad het, was sy siek en kon sy nie goed werk nie. Nou is sy op anti-retrovirale medikasie, sy eet goeie kos en sy leef “˜n positiewe lewe. Dit alles help haar om haar werk behoorlik te doen.

Ha se ho fela ha bopheloSindi Shomela, mosebetsi wa Sasol e mane Margate o batla hore bohle ba tsebe ka Aids mme o kgothaletsa batho hore base ke ba ba le dihlong ha ba bua ka ditaba tsa HIV/Aids.Pele a etsa teko ya Aids o ne a kula a sa kgone ho sebetsa hantle. Jwale o sebedisa dilwantshamahloko tsa di-anti retroviral, mme o ja dijo tse hahang mmele o bile o phela bophelo ba hae a na le tshepo. Hona hohle ho mo thusa ho phetha mosebetsi wa hae hantle.