The presently disadvantaged

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Pic by Sophie Marcus

Kate Douglas takes a look at Grahamstown’s poverty problem, its causes and effects and why it concerns you.

 

 

His face melted with relief when I hinted that I might have work for him. He told me that he would work hard and do anything from gardening to washing my car. I told him that we could afford to pay him R30 for an afternoon of gardening and doing some handy-man work around our digs. Again, he burst into smiles and told me that he would see if he could bring his own gardening spade since we did not have one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyndani is one of the many people who have knocked on my door asking for work or money since I moved into digs. I have heard a variety of stories from, “I have just got out of prison and need money” to “I need money to get my donkey out of the pound”. Lyndani’s story was simple: he needed money to pay for electricity. Hey, I can understand that.

The truth is that I can’t. Poverty means different things to different people. For some it might be not receiving an allowance that caters for drinks at the Rat or the Friars entrance fee. For others, it is not knowing when they can afford to buy their next meal.

Intellectuals all over the world have dedicated compositions to defining poverty. Some argue that it is overall deprivation while others define it as the ability of freedom of choice being unattainable due to lack of money. Dani Marais, the Student Community Engagement assistant of the Centre for Social Development (CSD), says that the shocking reality is that roughly 60% of the Grahamstown population is unemployed. Grahamstown has a population of between 130 000 to 140 000 of which about 80 000 live in the township. If an estimate of about 81 000 people are unemployed then, according to Marais, “most of the unemployed are people in the township”.

Moving away from statistics, let’s look at what we can all see. It is almost impossible to walk down High Street without a street child begging for food, money or to wash your car for change. Street children, in spite of many community projects by the CSD, remain a major problem in Grahamstown.

Luyanda Matiwane, the House-Father of Eluxolweni Children’s Shelter, says, “The main cause of homeless and street children is poverty and abusive parents.” Eluxolweni currently only has 32 children, between 8 and 18 years of age and can only hold a maximum of 35. The shelter lacks colour, resources and, although schooling is provided, the atmosphere seems more like a government traffic department than a haven for children.

 

 

 

So what does the Makana Government do?

 

 

 

 

 

Thandi Matebese, the Makana communications manager, says, “The municipality is aware of the high unemployment and how this is the leading cause of poverty.” Matebese said the municipality is involved with many programmes aimed at creating jobs and empowering members of the community to support themselves. However, Lorna Tesnar, owner of Jack ‘n Jill crèche, believes that the municipality is not doing enough.

Tesnar has turned her home into a crèche that accommodates primarily children from economically disadvantaged families. Parents pay a minimal monthly fee and she has over 80 children who she provides breakfast for and looks after for over 12 hours a day. She says that some children are dropped off by their parents with no food for the day. “I have had to make many financial sacrifices to keep Jack ‘n Jill running and I have asked Makana many times for help but they do nothing”.

As Jack ‘n Jill can be defined as a private business, the Makana Municipality is not responsible for giving her funding. However, Tesnar explains how Rhodes students from His People have been “generous and kind” and often send volunteers.

 

 

 

So what does Rhodes University do?

 

 

 

 

 

It is surprising that one of South Africa’s wealthiest universities is situated in one of the poorest cities in the country. The CSD is an institute of the University that has been more than successful in helping to develop Grahamstown. It has various projects aimed at making residents self-sufficient. Marais explains that they try to bring about a lasting change that will create a better future for Grahamstown. Their Student Community Engagement Programme welcomes students who wish to volunteer their time.

Though few of us actually know what it is like to live in a state of extreme poverty, we feel the effects all the time. Crime has become critical in Grahamstown. Student digs have been broken into, with numerous reports of students being attacked or mugged. This crime can all be accredited to Grahamstown’s poverty. As students we dream of a better future and university societies, such as Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International, prove that we are more than just mindless party animals.

If you want to volunteer and help South Africa’s poorest province then you can contact the Community Engagement Manager, Ingrid Anderson, at i.anderson@ru.ac.za or the Student Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator, Helen Hayes, at svp@ru.ac.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His face melted with relief when I hinted that I might have work for him. He told me that he would work hard and do anything from gardening to washing my car. I told him that we could afford to pay him R30 for an afternoon of gardening and doing some handy-man work around our digs. Again, he burst into smiles and told me that he would see if he could bring his own gardening spade since we did not have one.

 

 

 

 

 

Lyndani is one of the many people who have knocked on my door asking for work or money since I moved into digs. I have heard a variety of stories from, “I have just got out of prison and need money” to “I need money to get my donkey out of the pound”. Lyndani’s story was simple: he needed money to pay for electricity. Hey, I can understand that.

The truth is that I can’t. Poverty means different things to different people. For some it might be not receiving an allowance that caters for drinks at the Rat or the Friars entrance fee. For others, it is not knowing when they can afford to buy their next meal.

Intellectuals all over the world have dedicated compositions to defining poverty. Some argue that it is overall deprivation while others define it as the ability of freedom of choice being unattainable due to lack of money. Dani Marais, the Student Community Engagement assistant of the Centre for Social Development (CSD), says that the shocking reality is that roughly 60% of the Grahamstown population is unemployed. Grahamstown has a population of between 130 000 to 140 000 of which about 80 000 live in the township. If an estimate of about 81 000 people are unemployed then, according to Marais, “most of the unemployed are people in the township”.

Moving away from statistics, let’s look at what we can all see. It is almost impossible to walk down High Street without a street child begging for food, money or to wash your car for change. Street children, in spite of many community projects by the CSD, remain a major problem in Grahamstown.

Luyanda Matiwane, the House-Father of Eluxolweni Children’s Shelter, says, “The main cause of homeless and street children is poverty and abusive parents.” Eluxolweni currently only has 32 children, between 8 and 18 years of age and can only hold a maximum of 35. The shelter lacks colour, resources and, although schooling is provided, the atmosphere seems more like a government traffic department than a haven for children.

 

 

 

So what does the Makana Government do?

 

 

 

 

 

Thandi Matebese, the Makana communications manager, says, “The municipality is aware of the high unemployment and how this is the leading cause of poverty.” Matebese said the municipality is involved with many programmes aimed at creating jobs and empowering members of the community to support themselves. However, Lorna Tesnar, owner of Jack ‘n Jill crèche, believes that the municipality is not doing enough.

Tesnar has turned her home into a crèche that accommodates primarily children from economically disadvantaged families. Parents pay a minimal monthly fee and she has over 80 children who she provides breakfast for and looks after for over 12 hours a day. She says that some children are dropped off by their parents with no food for the day. “I have had to make many financial sacrifices to keep Jack ‘n Jill running and I have asked Makana many times for help but they do nothing”.

As Jack ‘n Jill can be defined as a private business, the Makana Municipality is not responsible for giving her funding. However, Tesnar explains how Rhodes students from His People have been “generous and kind” and often send volunteers.

 

 

 

So what does Rhodes University do?

 

 

 

 

 

It is surprising that one of South Africa’s wealthiest universities is situated in one of the poorest cities in the country. The CSD is an institute of the University that has been more than successful in helping to develop Grahamstown. It has various projects aimed at making residents self-sufficient. Marais explains that they try to bring about a lasting change that will create a better future for Grahamstown. Their Student Community Engagement Programme welcomes students who wish to volunteer their time.

Though few of us actually know what it is like to live in a state of extreme poverty, we feel the effects all the time. Crime has become critical in Grahamstown. Student digs have been broken into, with numerous reports of students being attacked or mugged. This crime can all be accredited to Grahamstown’s poverty. As students we dream of a better future and university societies, such as Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International, prove that we are more than just mindless party animals.

If you want to volunteer and help South Africa’s poorest province then you can contact the Community Engagement Manager, Ingrid Anderson, at i.anderson@ru.ac.za or the Student Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator, Helen Hayes, at svp@ru.ac.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyndani is one of the many people who have knocked on my door asking for work or money since I moved into digs. I have heard a variety of stories from, “I have just got out of prison and need money” to “I need money to get my donkey out of the pound”. Lyndani’s story was simple: he needed money to pay for electricity. Hey, I can understand that.

The truth is that I can’t. Poverty means different things to different people. For some it might be not receiving an allowance that caters for drinks at the Rat or the Friars entrance fee. For others, it is not knowing when they can afford to buy their next meal.

Intellectuals all over the world have dedicated compositions to defining poverty. Some argue that it is overall deprivation while others define it as the ability of freedom of choice being unattainable due to lack of money. Dani Marais, the Student Community Engagement assistant of the Centre for Social Development (CSD), says that the shocking reality is that roughly 60% of the Grahamstown population is unemployed. Grahamstown has a population of between 130 000 to 140 000 of which about 80 000 live in the township. If an estimate of about 81 000 people are unemployed then, according to Marais, “most of the unemployed are people in the township”.

Moving away from statistics, let’s look at what we can all see. It is almost impossible to walk down High Street without a street child begging for food, money or to wash your car for change. Street children, in spite of many community projects by the CSD, remain a major problem in Grahamstown.

Luyanda Matiwane, the House-Father of Eluxolweni Children’s Shelter, says, “The main cause of homeless and street children is poverty and abusive parents.” Eluxolweni currently only has 32 children, between 8 and 18 years of age and can only hold a maximum of 35. The shelter lacks colour, resources and, although schooling is provided, the atmosphere seems more like a government traffic department than a haven for children.

 

 

 

So what does the Makana Government do?

 

 

 

 

 

Thandi Matebese, the Makana communications manager, says, “The municipality is aware of the high unemployment and how this is the leading cause of poverty.” Matebese said the municipality is involved with many programmes aimed at creating jobs and empowering members of the community to support themselves. However, Lorna Tesnar, owner of Jack ‘n Jill crèche, believes that the municipality is not doing enough.

Tesnar has turned her home into a crèche that accommodates primarily children from economically disadvantaged families. Parents pay a minimal monthly fee and she has over 80 children who she provides breakfast for and looks after for over 12 hours a day. She says that some children are dropped off by their parents with no food for the day. “I have had to make many financial sacrifices to keep Jack ‘n Jill running and I have asked Makana many times for help but they do nothing”.

As Jack ‘n Jill can be defined as a private business, the Makana Municipality is not responsible for giving her funding. However, Tesnar explains how Rhodes students from His People have been “generous and kind” and often send volunteers.

 

 

 

So what does Rhodes University do?

 

 

 

 

 

It is surprising that one of South Africa’s wealthiest universities is situated in one of the poorest cities in the country. The CSD is an institute of the University that has been more than successful in helping to develop Grahamstown. It has various projects aimed at making residents self-sufficient. Marais explains that they try to bring about a lasting change that will create a better future for Grahamstown. Their Student Community Engagement Programme welcomes students who wish to volunteer their time.

Though few of us actually know what it is like to live in a state of extreme poverty, we feel the effects all the time. Crime has become critical in Grahamstown. Student digs have been broken into, with numerous reports of students being attacked or mugged. This crime can all be accredited to Grahamstown’s poverty. As students we dream of a better future and university societies, such as Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International, prove that we are more than just mindless party animals.

If you want to volunteer and help South Africa’s poorest province then you can contact the Community Engagement Manager, Ingrid Anderson, at i.anderson@ru.ac.za or the Student Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator, Helen Hayes, at svp@ru.ac.za

 

 

 

 

 

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