My Old Friends And Peers Are Dead Analysis

1777 Words 8 Pages
3.4. Most of My Old Friends and Peers Are Dead
I celebrated my 51st birthday on the 20th of March 2013. I looked back to where I have come from and I confessed that I should not be alive. Most of my adolescence friends and peers back home are dead or destroyed by alcohol and drug addiction, gang wars and HIV and Aids. Most of the girls I fooled around with growing up and in my adulthood are dead due to HIV related infections and illnesses. Back in the 70s to early 90s there was not much awareness and knowledge about HIV and Aids among many promiscuous people in Natal and no doubt in all the other provinces in South Africa; there was not much awareness and promotion of condoms too. In fact the use of condoms was discouraged among peers. How
…show more content…
It was there that my life changed dramatically for the better though I had not transformed my ways at all. The only most important change in my life at that stage was my marriage to Khumbuzile Khumalo, my wife of twenty seven (27) years and had our first born daughter, Sthembile Pamela Lucia. It was there that the Lord began to show me His truly unwarranted favour, but He made me pay a massive price first.
It was there that I also came face to face with the real and ugly face of workplace racism and discrimination. I had experienced, albeit, veiled racism and discrimination in Eskom which had naturally elicited a strong resistance on my part, which resistance was to cause me my inglorious dismissal, but nothing prepared me for what I was to experience in Spoornet and nothing certainly compared to it. As generally the first group of Blacks (Indians and Coloureds included) to be trained to eventually become train drivers, to ‘take over White privileged jobs’ as the Whites saw it then, we were openly hated by most White drivers, supervisors, fellow pupil train drivers and train assistants. I must hasten to add that not all White train drivers were racist and discriminatory, certainly not my tutor. It is there that African Blacks were badly treated and called ‘stinking baboons and kaffirs.’
…show more content…
This was a national strike for recognition and for the right to organize. The employer did not want to recognize this Union because it was militant and revolutionary. The strike was violent and fatal. The Ladysmith branch, so we were told later, had decided not to compel us to join the strike because they recognized the fact that as African Blacks, we were just breaking into a previously Whites only grade and it might prove prejudicial for us if they were to force us to join them, so they left us to continue working while they starved for their God given right to be heard. The strike lasted for three violent months. This was my first awareness of the presence of a militant union that did not bow to White supremacy and domination; a union that was willing to fight for the promotion and protection of the rights of their members. The fact that I had some tertiary education and three years’ experience as a Grade 12 History teacher sort of set me apart and made me a target for abuse by White Train Drivers and supervisors. As Black Train Assistants we were not organized and were not protected; whatever resistance was mounted against abuse was individualistic and quite risky because of fear of dismissal in biased disciplinary hearings. There was one union recognized in this grade; it was known as the Footplate, a White union which we were strongly enticed to join. When I realized that I was

Related Documents