Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vukuzenzele - Do It Yourself, My Experience


About three years ago the world economic downturn resulted in the highest unemployment figures ever recorded in recent times, as millions of people lost their jobs. The prediction that the world might soon experience a double-dip recession means that more and more South Aficans could face further retrenchments. The scourge has also led to fewer job opportunities, thus adding salt to the wound, as many young people already find themselves in an a state of dispondency, as most of them are unemployed.
It is estimated that in Africa alone 100 000 000 jobs are needed to try and solve the status quo.

Vukuzenzele is one of the initiatives by the government to encourage South Africans to stand up and do it for themselves, with a promise to create platforms and catalysts for assisting such efforts. 

As noble and sound as this idea might sound, the above mentioned promise exists only as such, just an idea and or promise to many, as accessing financial assistance remains a far fetched dream. This intended obligation by the gorvernment is clouded, namely by lack of available information, corruption, lack of funding and too much red tape to name just a few.

A friend of mine who just opened a hardware store in Mdantsane related to me how disappointed and shocked he was to find signages, advertising his business, were taken away by municipal authorities without any warning because they clashed with by-laws. What infurated him was that he did not understand why he was the only one targeted as there were many other signages around Mdanstane. 
He went to the municipal office and demand his signages be put back where they were or if not, all signages in Mdantsane be taken down. After his protest, he was given back his signages and he put them up, and was never bothered again. 

My turn of Vukuzenzele gone bad, came when I wanted to have my mobile shop outside the Nontyatyambo Clinic at the Highway Taxi Rank in the township. I saw a business opportunity to sell take-aways there, since there was no cafeteria at the premises. 

I was told to make an application to the municipality, where I was given a long list of things to install in my mobile shop before I could go ahead. A sink, storage spaces, a tap were some of the things I was asked to install before a permit could be issued. 

The total cost of the installations was estimated at R 7 000, mind you, I am in between jobs at the moment and do not have a regular income. In Mdantsane many businesses are run without permits and as a law abiding citizen, I went through all the trouble as I wanted to do things by the book. 
I tried to explain to the manager that I could not afford such installations, and besides around the township there are containers who are standing there without any licenses from the municipality. 

The manager insisted that I should meet the requirements first, and what makes me angry is that there are hawkers who are trading already next to the clinic entrance, also without permission. With the levels of corruption I would not be suprised to see that the permit to sell at the clinic will be given to a person who has a close relationship with the powers that institution.

A  story by Siyanda Nkonyeni

1 comment:

  1. A Thank You to our Guest Author Siyanda. This is a great and very personal story !



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