Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Living in an Ocean of Unemployment By Maditaba A Mabela , GUBICO Allanridge , Free State

Is there any way to survive in the new South Africa ? Especially the South Africa that enriches a few individuals?

“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs…” echoes the words of a national hero Rolihlahla Mandela.

In this ocean of unemployment and poverty, Bovet Mthombeni a renown entrepreneur from the driest township in the Free State Nyakallong is said to have found a way to survive and support four dependents. Mr Nthombeni  draws his income from a small fruit and vegetable market which he started because of lack of employment from the mines., the only source of employment in the area. Mr Mthombeni says that business is tough because there are few people barely able to buy decent food for their families. “Business is slow as I rely on grant people for their support” Mr Mthombeni also said that to have mines on their door step is fruitless because the mines employ people from outside Nyakallong  “My business does not benefit from the mine,” said Mr Mthombeni, “because most of the workers from outside, the money they earn there in the mine, they take it with them to their respective towns.” “Is this a democracy we longed for. To have a mine in our land, in our community”, said Mr Mthombeni,” equals to nothing , because most of us don’t have jobs.”

Even though the mine itself claims to help and consider the residents of  Nyakallong, many community members especially the youth feel otherwise. “To go to the ocean with a teaspoon of colorant”, said one of the community youth , Thabang Radebe, “is a waste of time and that colourant, as it wont make any difference.”  “This” , continues Mr Radebeb, “is what the mines does , it takes a few of us and many from outside and expect to change lives”

However one cannot overlook the success and life that Mr Bovet Mthombeni managed for himself even under the circumstances. Surely life is hard in the mining areas, but success is possible. Mr Mthombeni is living proof, or is he?


By Maditaba A Mabela , GUBICO Allanridge , Free State