Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Teacher

He is a teacher in Khayelitsha. This is a contract post, renewed each term, employed by the school’s governing body. But now he is uncertain of his post – because he is a Zimbabwean.

He is uncertain: not because he is teaching illegally. He has a work permit from the South African government. The uncertainty is not because he is unqualified, because he has a teacher’s diploma, and many years of experience. The uncertainty is because he knows that he is not welcome.

He lives in my church hall with his wife and son. And he gets up early to catch two trains and a taxi to school. But as he travels he wonders who is going to accost him and ask him to say something. It is in speaking that he reveals his nationality. He bears the same colour skin, and the same Nguni features as those who travel with him. But his inadequate Xhosa language skills reveal his nationality.

He failed the test yesterday: and was robbed of his cellphone and wallet. Many passers by saw him being robbed, but did nothing. He is convinced that people see foreigners as “fair game” for robbery. The township will protect its own against theft, but will not rally to protect the alien.

He left for work in the pouring rain this morning. “I am glad for the rain” he said. “There will be less people walking on the road”.

1 comment:

Scout with the Cross said...

It certainly helps you to reflect how lucky we are, especially in the UK.

Keep up Gods work and see if you can send me some of that time you have to write this great blog.