I would like to share with you something that my life partner and I working on.
My partner is from the old township (AKA old location) in Sterkstroom in the very rural Karoo. The place is completely neglected and is going backward. For instance, the little joys my partner, her brother, cousins and friends had in the 1990s such a B&B pool has been according to a resident “bought by blacks and the pool was shut”, the children have nothing to do in the boiling heat and the freezing cold that come in the same day but run around and kick a punctured ball. The town has two sources of employment – “bottles business that is flourishing, and municipality plans that recruits residents to pick up rubbish that keeps up accumulating in Sisyphean labour. The people start drinking before breakfast and never stop until they go to sleep. They accompany their drinking with marihuana that somebody buys in Queenstown. Fights brake up constantly over nothing, the police comes and apologies are exchanged. The ladies and a few men run after every foreigner or stranger for a job or a few coins for cigarettes. Groups of people sit and drink and another person joins in constantly the whole day and night.
This is very gloomy picture of a place that goes backwards and no one seems to care.
My partner just completed a Schonian-like one-on-one sewing training with a lady who does sewing for over three decades and picked up the trade very quickly and skillfully. She then got her own sewing machine and a lock machine and opened her own place in Port Elizabeth’s town centre (right on Govan Mbeki Street) where she designs her own clothes and does amendments, and devised her own price list and clients/customers. She also opened a second branch in the Sterkstroom “old location” in a space that her family gave her and she refurbished and renovated. The place runs as a commune where the ladies that she interviewed and knows, and carefully scrutinized, and who have different skills, knitting, sewing etc, and who will train each other in different skills – my partner trains them on the sewing machine that she got for that purpose and the other skills that do not require machines - do clothes that they will sell in the township and on E.bay internationally. They will work together and share the profits and expenses.
My partner already wrote a paper on the life in Sterkstroom, and is working on her life stories that we will publish in Trébol Press South Africa. The sewing commune will follow her and write their stories, their life-living experiences, acquired knowledge and their life as a commune. This will be done in isiXhosa and English. The dialectics of how do we improve our quality of life and live a life of meaning as a sewing commune in a Sterkstroom township? will be used as they reflect on their old lives of unemployment(anti-thesis) and write how they transformed their lives individually and as a commune (thesis) and fuse the anti-thesis and thesis to build a poiesis of something better than before. They have the constructive tension of working together and the poor experiences of misery, unemployment etc.. The dynamics of age, different experiences, clan relationships and interactions and culture will be examined and draw on for the dialectics. The dynamics of a young woman presently living in Summerstrand (my partner) who is guiding the group and facilitates it will be examined. We will film it. We will see what happens and use our publishing (Trébol Press South Africa) to report and convey the applied socio-economics in Sterkstroom.
We just started this project and shall see what is happening. I will share more little by little.
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