Happiness and love

Portia is 37 years old and lives in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay with her boyfriend and her two children. Kathrin is 38 years old, lives in Victorskloof, Hout Bay with her husband and three children.

What is your profession and what work do you do? I’m a housekeeper, an au pair and I drive children to school. I also cook.

Where were you trained? I learned cooking at school, driving I learned at driving school. Housekeeping I learned from going to work with my mother and my aunts, so I started helping them. I went to school for ten years.

Is there something you would like to learn? Yes, there is. I would like to do computer studies or to learn to be a tour guide.

What do you do in your free time? I just relax at home. I do all the things I’m not able to do during the week. On Saturday I go out with my daughters, we take walks, go shopping or if they want to see a movie we go to the movies. On Sunday, we sometimes go to church, but not always, and then I cook lunch.

Do you have a hero, a mentor or somebody you admire? Nelson Mandela. He sacrificed his own life with his family and took all that time fighting for this country to be what it is today.

Are you currently saving money for something? Yes, I am. I’m saving money so that I can have a car. The reason why I want to have a car is I’ve got a driver’s license. As I told you, I do lifts for the children to go to school. I would like to earn extra money with a taxi service for schoolchildren.

Do you have a dream that cannot be bought by money? Yes. Happiness, and to have a loving husband who will look after me and my children, not financially, but morally; and being there when it is difficult. My boyfriend is there, but he is not my husband. We have tried to get married many times but it didn’t work. I just think in a relationship there are always obstacles. Maybe the fact that he is not from South Africa makes me  always think, what if he decides to go back to the Congo? I don’t want to go there, I’ve got my children here, they go to school here. And knowing that he didn’t come here because he wanted to, he’s a refugee, it is possible that when things are normal in Congo that he will go back. He says to me that he wants to be with me, but, you know, life…

What do you think you will be doing in 10 years? I think I will still be working, because I’m a strong person. I’ll still be working because my daughters will not have finished school. I want to stop working when both my children are finished with school. If I have a computer course by then, I will be working from home for somebody, as a personal assistant. Not hard work anymore.

Where will you be when you are old? I’ll tell you the truth: I would like to be in Hout Bay, I was born in Hout Bay. But I don’t think it’s possible for me, that I can be here in Hout Bay, due to the fact that where we are staying, you get a small portion of land. You can’t really move. I’d like to be where you can have a big house, with a garden, you know, where I can do whatever I want to. I won’t be bored when I am old, I’m always busy. In Mandela Park (Imizamo Yethu), there’s nothing I can do.

What is your favourite food? Dumpling and meat, the intestines of a sheep.

Do you have a favorite book? Cry, beloved country by Alan Paton.

Do you have a favorite movie? Shrek.

What music is your favorite? I like gospel music and R’n’B.

And what TV-show? I like reality like Oprah, sometimes I like fashion shows.

What do you like about South Africa? I like that you have a chance, you don’t have limits on what you can do about your life. We have access to education, although sometimes we have to pay. There are no race issues, you can take your child to any school that you want to, you can go anywhere that you want to. And, the nature of South Africa, the environment, I like. There is more I like than words can say.

What don’t you like about South Africa? Corruption. We have come way to long to be here still fighting corruption from the leaders that stood up for us. When they got the chance to grow this country, with the corruption they are bringing it back to the way it was.

What are your hopes for South Africa? I hope that South Africa will grow and be a richer country like all the European countries. I hope that one day we will find the right people to lead South Africa to this. If I may tell the truth: as long as there is still only one party leading, the country is not going to grow. There will always be opposition, all those political issues can bring the country down. If only they could look who is the right individual to lead the country that may work. Or if they could stop voting according to their political parties, maybe that would help.

 Is there anything you would like to say to our Swiss friends and families? I would like to tell all your friends that what you guys are doing is much appreciated in this country. Although it is free, there is still a lot of difference between the people, between how the people live. Still, a lot of people are disadvantaged. A lot of people cannot manage to have all the things people need to live a life; like access to shelter, education and all that. There are a lot of people that come from outside South Africa and help us to grow, and I would like to say thank you to them and I would like them to carry on doing what they are doing. Not only for South Africa, but for the other neighbouring African countries, too. Because without them, this country would really be like the others, like Ethiopia or Zimbabwe. But because they are also bringing business into this country,we are still standing here today.

Ndiyabulela, Portia!

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