Outside the Zandspruit shops, Never Ncube condemns the protestors who looted stores and destroyed the centre’s wall. “Now, this is not a strike. It’s criminal activity,” he says. The 25-year-old’s wife died in May and he is left with a baby boy. By GREG NICOLSON
“My father, now he is too old. He’s not working. They were never doing anything, just doing some jobs, getting some other jobs. I don’t know my mother. My mother died when I was so young.
I didn’t stay with my father for a long time because I tried to look at my life and say, ‘I have to look for my own jobs and do something and I have to stay alone and try to make my life better.’ Because you know when you stay with your father it’s nice but sometimes it’s not good.
When you stay with your father it’s going to be a big problem. Now I’m young. I have to use my experience. When you stay with your father you’ll not work. You’ll just look at your father to buy something, shoes or whatever. Some other people are doing this because they don’t like to work.
We can work hard. To work hard, I think, is better than to stay. We are working but some people like to pay you R60 or R70 (a day). What can you do with R70? What can you do about R80? It’s not enough money.
Our government is supposed to make some jobs for us to work. Some people are looking for jobs, going at six in the morning and returning at six in the evening but you can’t get anything. Some other people just stay (at home) to say, ‘Money will come to me.’ How can money come to you? Money can never come to you. You have to go you yourself and fetch money.
When I was young I had plans to do some big, big things, man. I was thinking I could be a policeman. Sometimes I wanted to be a doctor or a driver. I wanted to own my own life, to live my own life, get money and buy some things and look after my parents and look after my family. But I didn’t do that. Now, I’m starting to realise that time is already gone. I have to do this and that and this and that to make my life better.
Even now, I have to think so hard. Even when I’m sleeping I have to think so hard and say, ‘What do I have to do about my life?’ But I think there is going to be a day when I get an answer. God, when you are crying and when you are praying to God, God will hear you and he’ll answer your prayer and give you what you want.
I would have liked to go to school. But I didn’t do that because of money. I would like to go to school. Like some of the people at Monash University there, they have got intelligence and want to make their lives better. But like me now, I can’t make it. It’s so hard now. I don’t care about what job I get. I can do anything. A job is a job.
If I’m not working, to talk is better because I will get help. I have to call those people I’ve worked for and say, ‘Hey man, come on, my situation is so bad. Please can you help me out.’ Sometimes you’ll get some other people who’ll say, ‘Come to do something.’
I feel bad (being unemployed). It’s something I have to cry about: I need a place to stay for myself. I’m renting and I pay R500 every month. When you pay R500 how much money will you have in your pocket? I’m not working for the bank. I’m trying to do jobs for myself.
When you don’t pay the rent, you’re supposed to go stay outside with your property. What if you have a child and wife and don’t have the money? What are you supposed to do? That’s why I want my own place. If you’re not an owner, you will suffer and suffer and suffer until you die. People are suffering.
I was thinking maybe I can go to driving school. If you have a licence you can get a job quickly. But to get a license sometimes is not easy. You have to get somebody who can support you, somebody who can push you in the back and say, ‘You have to do this. Don’t go back. Don’t look at back, go forward.’ You know?
Now, I don’t want to stay with a wife. I’m thinking about my child… I’m not crazy. I’m not mad. I’m thinking about tomorrow. If I can die now – to die, it doesn’t wait – who’s going to look after my child? My child is going to suffer. So I want to die when I know my child has got a place to stay and I know my child is never going to suffer.” DM
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All tortoises are actually turtles. Some turtles however are not tortoises.