28 July 2010

Freshwater Ichthyology at Albany Museum


The first major collection of freshwater fishes was made by Dr Rex Jubb in 1931. He and his wife, Hilda, worked at the Museum between 1959 and 1980 and they produced the first book on the freshwater fishes of southern Africa.

Today the Department houses important historical collections of southern African freshwater fishes. The collections incorporate the holdings of the Natal Museum (dating back to 1905) and the South African Museum (dating back to 1875); consequently the coverage of the Eastern and Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal fish is expecially good.

The collection comprises 14 200 accessions which total some 250 000 specimens, mostly stored in alcohol. The entire database is computerised and is regularly accessed by national and international scientists as well as by nature conservation officials and consultants.

The Albany Museum maintains a close association with the Department of Ichthyology at Rhodes University, the Institute for Water Research and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (formerly the JLB Smith Institute of African Ichthyology), making the collection of freshwater fish species in this department important in the study of a number of related research fields.

27 July 2010

Museum herbarium develops recipe for the blind

Phumlani Cimi, a botanist in the Selmar Schonland Herbarium, Albany Museum, has compiled an information booklet about imifino (wild vegetables) and arranged for it to be translated into braille. Braille is a system of writing in which patterns of raised dots represent letters and numerals to enable sight impaired people to read. Louise Braille was a French educator who lost his sight at the age of three and invented a system of writing and printing for sightless people in 1821. Cimi, himself a paraplegic, is passionate about improving the lives of the disabled and recognized the need for such a booklet.

The booklet is a compilation of his own research and other published sources such as the copyright free imifino recipe book published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University. Cimi’s Masters Degree in Science Education focussed on the use of indigenous knowledge in school curricula, including local knowledge of imifino use. Imifino refers to wild growing herbaceous plants that are collected and cooked as pot-herbs. The booklet discusses the origin of imifino plants (most were introduced from other countries many years ago), the health aspects of imifino plants (most are highly nutritious), and provides 10 delicious recipes. The booklet is available, in braille, here at Albany Museum in Selmar Schonland Herbarium and also at the Library for the Blind in High Street.

A young girl prepares imifino.

24 July 2010

Museum remembers Mandela Day

by: Zongezile Matshoba

The Mobile Museum under the guidance of Nozipho Madinda once again hit the road to spend 67 Minutes in celebration of Mandela Day with farm schools outside Grahamstown. Donations were warmly given by Grahamstown individuals and businesses for distribution to four needy farm schools and communities.

Manley Flats, Zintle, Martindale and Wilson
Party were once again visited for 67 Minutes to
show the open hearts, humbleness and humanity
of Grahamstonians.

Listed below are some people and places the
Mobile Museum wishes to mention and thank:

Ms P. Mntonintshi; D&A Timbers; Diamond Cash & Carry; Ms V. Mabutya; Ms C. Lambley; Dr B. De Klerk; Kodak Express; Ms N. Madinda; UPB Booksellers; NELM; Ms K. Mhlekwa; City Fashions; J.Chan Henry; Ms Angie Marrinerl; Mr Zola Klaas; Pick 'n Pay (Mr Jon Campbell); Ms Shireen Badat; Dr J.Cambray; Prof Julie Wells; Ms Hannah de Wet; Ms Sue Marais; Ms Cathy Gusl; Dr Fred & Sarah Gess; Ms Phindiwe Maselana; Poogendri Reddy – SAIAB; Good Shepherd Primary; Mr Sibusiso Mtshali-Rhodes University; Ms Fundiswa Matyolo; Ms Helen James; St Mary's Primary; Nombulelo High School; Ms B Tana; Mr B.Mgijima.

Clothes, paint, cricket bats, tennis balls, water bottles, books, SA flags, sweets and biscuits were some of the many things that were received with smiles and ululations. The Wilson’s Party Farm School walls were plastered with former State President Nelson Mandela pictures, paper clips and writings in appreciation of his 92nd birthday and 67 years in struggle for humanity.

Madinda told learners, teachers and parents that Mandela has done more than enough in the past 67 years. Everyone started singing: Nelson Mandela, akekho ofana nawe! (Nelson Mandela,
there is no one like you).

"There is indeed no one like Mandela. Now is the time for all of us to pick up where he left and make a difference in our communities," said Madinda.

Thulani Lombo and Anelisa Deliwe who were guests of honour spoke with passion of the benefits they have received after being associated with the legacy of Mandela.

"Mandela studied law, but spent 27 years in prison fighting for equality and humanity. He helped to teach even white prison warders to read and write by asking them to write letters for him," Lombo, a grade 10 learner from Nombulelo High told the farm learners.

Sindi Sijadu, the principal of Wilson's Party Farm School wanted to cry when recalling the conditions farm schools and learners find themselves in.

"We live our home everyday only to encounter deep-rooted poverty and appalling conditions," she said. "Farm learners never attend pre-schools, and we have to teach them everything from scratch".

She appreciated that the Museum is always thinking about farm schools.

Nolindile Mrhalaza, an unemployed parent thanked the teachers and the Museum for celebrating Mandela's birthday with the farm community.

"These children are fortunate. We never attended school. It is true that as a person you learn new things everyday until you die". She promised to retell what happened today to all those parents who missed out because they had to go to work.

Noloyiso Mcekana, the principal of Martindale Farm School recalled where we all come from.

"We are coming from afar, from darkness, but today we are a rainbow nation in brightness and sitting here as brothers and sisters".

She then led the grade 1s, and the house joined in counting Mandela years: 10, 20, 30 ... 70, 80, 90, 91, 92!

Songs about Mandela, diski dance, reading, human rights narration and vuvuzelas kept everyone singing and clapping endlessly.

21 July 2010

Tsitsikamma River Research

by: Dr Ferdy de Moor

The FWI
The Freshwater Invertebrates Department at the Makana Biodiversity Centre, Albany Museum has been involved in conducting ongoing research on rivers in the Tsitsikamma mountains since 2000.

SURVEYING SPECIES
In August and December 2000 surveys of the aquatic macroinvertebrates in the Salt River (Nature’s Valley) were conducted by Mrs Helen Barber-James and Dr Ferdy de Moor from the Albany Museum to assess the diversity of species in this river. The aim was to report if special conservation measures to protect any rare or endemic species were needed, following a request to introduce trout for recreational fishing into this river. Although the Salt River naturally has no freshwater fish the macroinvertebrate fauna collected proved to be so special, recording 13 undescribed species, that a permit for introducing this alien fish into the Salt River was denied.

MACROINVERTEBRATES
In April 2004 Nature’s Valley Trust requested a follow-up survey of the macroinvertebrates of the Salt River in order to obtain a more complete coverage of species of macroinvertebrates throughout the annual cycle. A second reason was to assess whether any changes in the macroinvertebrate communities had occurred since the surveys conducted in 2000 because of several developments that had taken place in the catchment and along the riparian zone in the interim period. Of particular concern was the possible impact of a devastating silt discharge down the river late in 2002 that occurred following land clearing operations in the catchment preceding the development of a polo-field.

THE FINDINGS
The findings of the study revealed that the reported large sediment discharge had no discernable long-term impact on the macroinvertebrate community structure and that the fauna of the Salt River can in time recover from infrequent massive sedimentation events. Continuous and regular inputs of sediment would, however, result in significant deterioration of the conservation status of the Salt River. Further concerns regarding water quality deterioration were however raised during this study. The most serious threat to the continued existence of the rich macroinvertebrate communities was excessive water abstraction. Reduced flow volumes can result in a multitude of detrimental impacts (such as pH changes, eutrophication and temperature increases), due to reduced dilution effects. The high number of unplaceable species and the diversity and abundance of certain species considered rare, resulted in recommendations that the Salt River should be given special conservation status with no introduction of any fish in the system and the eradication of alien fish in surrounding farm dams in its catchment.

THE LARGER PICTURE
On a broader scale, surveys of all the rivers in the southern Cape should be carried out to assess the status of indigenous and endemic fish and invertebrate fauna in these rivers in order to evaluate their conservation importance. It was suggested that, special measures should be taken to preserve the Salt and Wit Rivers as an aquatic insect sanctuary or nature reserve. Educational posters depicting some of the research findings are on display along the main Garden Route Road through Natures Valley and along the beach at Nature’s Valley.

RECOMMENDATIONS
From these recommendations a two-year study of eleven selected rivers in the Tsitsikamma mountains was proposed and this has been undertaken by a team of researchers from the Albany Museum, Rhodes University and Stellenbosch University between January 2008 and February 2010. The research is being written up for an MSc thesis by Mr Terence Bellingan and is also being drafted as a number of scientific papers and a special report for SANParks, WWF, Nature’s Valley Trust and Cape Nature who are the funding bodies of this research.

The aquatic invertebrate fauna of the southern and south-western Cape is unique when compared to the rest of Africa, being adapted to the cool, low nutrient, fast-flowing acidic waters typical of this region. The distribution of many of these species and genera is restricted to the southern and south-western Cape and they are considered to be endemic to that region. The rivers in the southern Cape are all headwater streams plunging straight from mountainous catchments to the sea without any of the slow, meandering lowland river and floodplain attributes characteristic of most other South African rivers. The large diversity of species can be partially attributed to the fact that there has been no major catastrophic event such as glaciation, flooding by epicontinental seas or total aridity since the middle Cretaceous (over 100 million years ago). These cold, acidic waters house the remnant of the cold-adapted, temperate Gondwanana fauna that was common to the southern land-mass during the Permian to the Jurassic periods, before the splitting of Gondwanaland in the Cretaceous. The nearest modern-day relatives are found in South America, Australia, Madagascar and India rather than in the rest of Africa. This has resulted in a high degree of endemism in this region.

Some of the main findings of the research are a discovery of more that 30 undescribed species. The recording of large, healthy populations of Cape endemic species of macroinvertebrates. The identification and selection of certain rivers that require special conservation protection. Other outcomes of the research project were, that we worked with teams of researchers from DWAE and were able to help train them in the identification of the endemic Cape freshwater invertebrates. SANParks rangers also joined us on surveys and helped find sites and learnt all about invertebrate life in the rivers. With Nature’s Valley Trust involvement, the development of a strong outreach with information posters and displays being made along National Roads and at Nature’s Valley.

20 July 2010

DIVINER'S INITIATION CEREMONY AND TRAINING

By Phumeza Mntomnintshi and Nomthinzi Api

This short article is based on the research conducted on the initiation ceremonies and training of diviners in the Peddie area of Eastern Cape . In May 2010 we visited Gcinisa-Hamburg area and Pikoli villages respectively. We observed that the way in which these ceremonies are conducted differ from one place to another. The area of the diviner's specialisation also influences the type of ceremony to be conducted.

DIVINERS EXPLAINED

Diviners themselves differ in their practices for an example you might get a divinber which specializes in fortune tellling and can't heal with traditional medicine and another one who specializes in healing without fore-telling the problem,etc. This signifies a matter of specialization depending on the calling. No one pracices according to his or her will,the ancestors must lead the way and one must tobey this calling. If the calling is ignored it can have a negative impact on the initiate. In some cases it could even lead to one becoming an outcast or be cursed by the ancestors.Now let us explain the term "diviner". Diviners , in the past , have been negativelly potrayed in our societies by previous governments,in literature,histories, galleries and other public arenas as witch doctors although in the actual sense they are not. Therefore they cannot be termed as witch doctors because witches are opposites of diviners.

SEVEN STAGES OF TRAINING

1.A trainee is taken to the kraal/inkundla and is given a white beaded necklace/umgqi omhlophe. If she is a female she will wear the print if he is a male he will be having a white towel and given a stick of a (matshini-tshini) tree.
2.A trainee is enclosed in a small hut/ibhoma which is built near the kraal which after three days will be built near the river.
3.Umgqabazo(clothing attire),in this stage a trainee wear a traditional dress/umbhaco with pieces of an animal attached and is given two sticks combined with blue and white beads.
4.Imvumakufa ( acceptance of divinity), in this stage the goat is slaughtered and a trainee wear umthika and given imvubu.
5.A trainee is given ulugxa/stick to dig the medicines.
6.A trainee is given a spear(umkhonto) , itshoba(ox tail) and wear (headress)isidlokolo.
7.Umgoduso(home welcoming ceremony),in this stage an ox is slaghtered (this is a graduation). Now he/she will stand on his or her own in order to practice as a fully flegded diviner and have his or her trainee diviners.

When the whole process happens the newly graduated diviner is obliged by divine tradition and rules to surrender at least about 4 trainee sangomas to the person who trained him or her as a gesture or sign of respect for the work done on him/her.

UDADOBAWO

Let us now talk about igqirha lomlambo(water trained diviner) and igqirha lemvumisa(fortune telling diviner) types respectively.As we have mentioned before that we have various types of diviners for different healing roles.Therefore they undergo different diviner initiation training as per their calling and style of work.

The African Xhosa speaking people have an ancestral belief,they believe that the ancestors communicate with their family through a dream. Then the family will consult a diviner/ traditional healer to seek answers. They go to a diviner to ask the meaning of the dream so as to know what needs to be done. If the family gets a diviner who knows exactly what needs to be done they then go ahead.

The diviner normallyleads all the rituals to be done. Again the cost involved in the process is a must be carried out by the requesting family .The diviners payment is known as inkomo (cow). This is because int he past this payment was done int he form of cows but these days money is used.

In one of our trips around the Hamburg / Peddie area we visited the Gedze/ Emantandeni family. Their ancestor called uDadobawo came through a dream to the Gedze family(Amantande).Fortunately the leader of this family is a diviner himself so he contacted other diviners to assist him to do the ritual since at times an outside help is required and luckly for them they saved money becasue of the fact that he himself is a diviner.

RITUAL NEAR NXUBA RIVER

He and other diviners got together to perform what was required to be done for the whole week near Nxuba river in Hamburg area. This kind of a ritual is mainly performed in a specified river or sea as per the dream of that particular person. Rivers and sea are believed to be sacred places where ancestors live.Therefore respect has to be given to the rivers and seas as they are residing places of the ancestors.

In this case igqirha lase Mantandeni went with another diviner as well as the researchers to the river of their calling to perform water ritual.They took with them white beads to ask for a perfect ritual as well as to introduce non family members accompanying them to the ancestors so that they do not get harmed when the ritual is done.Therefore a stranger cannot just do what they like when this rituals is perfromed otherwise one might face trouble and end up dying or getting lost.The family went to the river to talk to the Ancestor called uDadobawo and gave her the beads as a sign of respect and in turn asking her for protection against evil spells which may have been cast on the family.

IGQIRHA LASEMLANJENI

These two rituals are both water related, the first one being a water based ritual while the other one was a combination of home and river based ritual training. In our visit to Pikoli Village , the daughter of Amacirha was being trained to be a diviner/ igqirha lamanzi nelasekhaya.During her training she was called umkwetha(trainee diviner).Amongst other requirements was for her to be secluded in a kraal near the homestead and then be taken to another one near the river. No-one is allowed in her ibhoma and at the same time there are other things which we , as non -diviners , are not permitted to record nor to witness so as not to spoil the ritual. There were other aspects of the ritual which were not exaplined to us because of their sacredness.

UMADOSINI

Anyone rich or poor could be chosen by the ancestors to become a diviner. At the Emacirheni family the ancestors chose a young lady who works at Eskom.She had no choice and had to agree with the ancestors by accepting the calling. This lady was in her second stage of her training. Her trainer was Madosini and her divinity named is Nomakhwezi of Ndwayana village.This particular trainee/umkhwetha wegqirha was also shown her trainer by her ancestors in a dream. The training ritual started on a Tuesday,her trainer and the men of the family went to the river to collect the material to build her hut/ithonto/ibhoma .They collected these trees:umdubi,umngcunube,umnyamanzi,isithobothi,umkhanzi and umngcele.They also collected mud from the river to smear the trainee on her face whilst she is inside the hut.

DIVINER'S HUT

The hut was built in the afternoon near the kraal,umkhanzi and umngcele was used as a mat when ibhoma was finished the trainer was placed inside. The diviner /trainer gave instrutions to the trainee.The small zink with a stick was placed near the entrance of this special hut.When the trainee wants to come out she will make a sign using that zink with a stick,her trainer will go to her and attend to her needs. As part of the training she must eats food without salt. The trainee initiate stayed in this hut for three days .

ISILAWU

In the afternoon of a third day third day another ibhoma was built for her near the river .The same trees were also used in the building process. She slept alone,her trainer was also having her own hut nearby.She stayed there for one night and in the next morning she was taken to the river, and a container with isilawu was placed on her head. The trainer diviner stirred it and the foam of isilawu ran down her face.The plant knowns as isilawu is used by the diviners to communicate with the ancestors.After this process they gave her umbhaco/traditional dress to wear. She smeared her face with white clay/ifutha(the white clay is a symbol of a bright future) and was also given her beads attached on a reed.The trainer diviner gave her two sticks decorated with blue and white beads (the sticks are made of umatshini-tshini tree).

RETURNING HOME

The trainee diviner was taken back home near the kraal where she was given a mat to sit on and thell the family about her dreams during seclusion. The ancestors communicate with a trainne diviner through a dream. Some people do not believe in dreams but the dream is very important because it is a message from one's ancestors. Our visits to these rituals were an eye opener for us because we were bound to obey the rules and regulations of the rituals.




12 July 2010

Calling all to donate for Mandela Day

The Albany Museum calls upon all Rhodes University community and Grahamstonians to join hands in celebrating the Mandela Day. Donations of any kind are accepted. These will be distributed on Friday, 16 July to two needy farm schools as chosen by the Museum Mobile Services co-ordinator, Ms Nozipho Madinda.

Mandela Day, on the 18 July is a national event calling all South Africans to help make a difference to disadvantaged communities. It is in honour of the endless efforts by our former State President Nelson Mandela to improve everyone’s life. Farm schools around Grahamstown like Farmerfiled, Manley Flats, Sakhingomso and Masakhane remain deeply affected by the scourge of poverty. Your undying support will help the Museum to spend 67 minutes in two of these schools, striving to bring a better life on your behalf.

Please send your donations like clothes, blankets, toys, garden tools, and school items to: Ms Nozipho Madinda,
Albany Museum
Somerset Street
GRAHAMSTOWN
Tel: 046 622 2312
E-mail: N.Madinda@ru.ac.za

10 July 2010

Pollen wasps and flowers




A book Pollen wasps and flowers by Sarah Gess and Fred Gess of the Department of Entomology and Arachnology of the Makana Biodiversity Centre, Albany Museum, with SANBI as the publisher, will shortly be appearing in print. It constitutes an update for southern Africa of the The Pollen Wasps: ecology and natural history of the Masarinae by Sarah Gess published by Harvard University Press in 1996. In this earlier book Sarah gathered together all that was then known on the biogeography, life history, nest building behaviour, flower associations and associated organisms, and examined the role of pollen wasps as pollinators. The bulk of the information on southern African pollen wasps was derived from the studies of aculeate wasps and bees in southern Africa undertaken by Fred and Sarah Gess in the previous 25 years. At that time their studies had not yet extended into the northern Richtersveld and Namibia, the areas in which they concentrated their fieldwork in the next 10 years. These studies, from which have followed a further 14 publications, have added considerably to the knowledge of the diversity, distributions, nesting and flower associations of pollen wasps, making their new synthesis for southern Africa of particular value.




07 July 2010

Grahamstown youth follow Mandela legacy

By: Zongezile Matshoba
Visiting Qunu and the Former State President Mandela's birth place was amazing for Anelisa Deliwe and Thulani Lombo from Rhini township in Grahamstown. Embracing the theme “Enhancing Nelson Mandela's legacy through youth beyond 2010”, the group started by visiting eMqhekezweni. They were welcomed by Chief Zanomthetho. He told and showed them where Mandela attended school, played and swim as children, and where they met as traditional leaders.

The two were selected by Albany Museum as part of nearly 60 youth from all over South Africa that were attending the winter school camp organised by the Nelson Mandela Museum from the 12 to 21 June 2010.

Deliwe, impressed by the diski dance during Fifa 2010 World Cup, took up dance as part of her art basic intro. Lombo opted for photography to broaden his technological skills.

The group further learnt about the importance of banking, and the use and misuse of credit cards.

They were also exposed to to culture relations and diversity, and the value of knowing one's roots ad customs. They were then showed the film "Ityala Lamawele" (the court case of the twins).

Human rights issues also came up in their camping, with the emphasis on equality and responsibilities. As learners, they were told that they have a right to education, and a responsibility to listen to their teachers and to learn.

A trip to King William's Town saw the group visiting Steve Biko's home and grave. They progressed to Queenstown where they performed in the city centre, and distributed flyers about drugs abuse, violence, tolerance and human rights. They then took a train to Bloemfontein to learn more about the National Museum and nano technology.

For Lombo, the camp helped him to choose friends, to be aware of drugs and violance, as well as volunteering in non-paying projects.

"Money is not always the main thing," Lombo said. He is glad to have met different people from various backgrounds.

The camp helped Deliwe on the other hand to be a better girl. "It built me to learn to share experiences affecting us girls in particular".

Deliwe and Lombo, like the rest of the youth coming from the camp, are expected to make a difference in their communities and schools and submit written reports if they want to be part of the camp in the future.

02 July 2010

Report back on farm workers' lifestyles

Preamble

This is a research document conducted by the Anthropology department of Albany Museum in farms in and around Port Alfred and Grahamstown areas to find out how farm workers in these areas live their daily lives, working lives and social interactions amongst themselves and their neighbourhood. It aims at finding their personal interests in social activities happening in areas surrounding theirs and also to share their feelings about their experiences. It’s not a critical study but a motivational study that helps us understand the importance of their existence and to remove stereotypes attached to their settlement choices. These farming areas concerned are famous of Pineapple and live stock farming production. But now the challenge is the emergence of game farming which requires less people to work. This trend shifting is definitely causing unemployment bit by bit. We were unfortunate not to discover the cause since our study was about farm workers not farmers themselves.

Again we had a very difficult time in making people to talk freely about their lives and experiences.Maybe due to a matter of trust that our study was genuine and which won’t jeopardise their relations with their employers or complicate matters. We also noticed that most farm dwellers that are still there are old people. The youth is hardly found to be permanently staying except coming back to visit families and friends that are still staying in farms or at times to come for funerals and ritual practices when necessary.

Content

The life stories of farm workers in and around South Africa are almost the same as any other part of Southern Africa. They share common experiences dating back from their fore fathers. Fewer changes happened over centuries in their daily lives, working lives, social lives. The subject refers to the people who still lives in farms currently and who do not see themselves relocating to surrounding villages and locations but permanently spending their lives and die in farms. To them its how life should be, I mean semi pastoralists who own few live stocks gained either from their bosses or hard earned during their working days. People who do not own any piece of land for them or their families.

The interesting part is their living arrangements as well as marriage and their relations within the area. As we were going hearing life stories from each and every farm housestead we discovered that people are happy to be there, they do not see themselves living in town as such. Although some few youngsters went to look for jobs in cities but during holidays they come back home that is in the farms where they belong .A place they call home, where their fore fathers are buried. And where they usually perform their ancestral beliefs and customs.

During our research visit to various farms in the Port Alfred and Grahamstown area we found out that they are semi-related. Each and every farm is occupied either by blood relatives who live and work there at the same they have been there since birth. They will tell you that their parents were working for that particular farmer or perhaps next of kin if he is no more. Then it becomes a recurring decimal that if your parents worked for that farmer you also become the human property of the farmer without knowing. Although there are no formal agreements and arrangements signed or entered into by the said parties. We have discovered that it’s a loyality case that binds the two parties together since the farmer himself he won’t go and look out for employees outside his farm. That’s a South African humanity amongst its citizen, which goes like you help me in return I help as well. In this case farm worker gives out labour and in return earns money for a living. The money which a worker receives helps to feed and educate their families. Yet the farmer gets assisted to produce goods that in turn earns him or her money then later boost our economy.

The cycle chain of good relations amongst these people i.e. farmers and farm workers are indeed remarkable in everyone’s daily lives. Where would we get our food and meat products if there weren’t farm workers as much as farmers who somewhat dedicate their well being to feed the nation through economic farming.

Coming to the farm workers kinship relations, we have discovered that they become related due to customary marriage practices that they perform. You hardly find an outsider to marry in most farms in this area. It is a matter of choice no one forces one to do that but they like it that way. They do not view that as taboo or wrong to be related to each other yet live and share most of their things that they commonly own or supplied to them by the farm owner. If you work there and don’t belong there in terms of kinship survival chances for you are so slim. At times you survive under plots as highlighted by one of the farm worker who hails from Port Elizabeth and works as a driver in one of the farms around Port Alfred. But it becomes a case of being accused of taking their jobs away, a common case in South Africa. In this case it is hard to refer to it as xenophobic issue as such since they are all South African citizens. Most of the time they spend their free times consuming liquor just for fun during weekends and moth ends. Usually they buy drinkables in bulks over fortnights or month ends, when they come to shop more especially those who are far from town. Their bosses transport them to and from town for free which shows a positive interaction between the employer and employee.

Settlement in these farms is similar to that of rural villages since they live in a designated area closer to each other which make their social relations tighter since they share some of available resources together. We have found out that even if they are happy to stay there but they also want to live modern lives. There should be provision of modern infrastructure to fulfil some of their needs like electronic, communication resources, etc like cellular phones, Radio, televisions. But then again that raises another reason why the new generation or youngsters are abandoning farm life for towns.

They do not want to be left behind or one can say they go out in order to access the above mentioned scarce recourses in farms elsewhere. Maybe if these could be evenly distributed there could be a rise in the figures that are currently found in terms of occupation. Another challenging case is the lack of educational facilities; mostly farm schools do not have high schools but only primary schools which are also distant to each other. Then children who want to study further are forced to relocate to nearby towns and locations ,then that leads to a drop in the number of youngsters who would like to come back to farms after finishing school or when they are grown ups and working. That is a result of lack of infrastructure provided. Again looking at that positively it may be difficult for any government or municipality to provide such resources since farms firstly are privately owned and distant to each other.

So the blame now shifts away from our authorities to be accused of failing to deliver as some farm workers were complaining of being ignored or cared for when it’s election time. They claim that they are only known to exist when their votes are needed. Then again another crises that farm workers are facing becomes the emerging of game farming that is reducing employee turnout .That’s the decision of the farm owner to shift trend in farming and reasons beyond that were not exhausted since it was not our study subject for now. Maybe in the near future we will be lucky to find out and record as well. The issue of how did they end up in those farms was not discussed since it was another subject on its own not our interest for now. We were concerned of the current lifestyles and histories positively.

Conclusion

This was fun working on this article since it reflected the inner feelings of the people concerned. They said their story as they felt and in need of being noticed as normal people too, who add value to our lives by their hard work in terms of agricultural production. They live normal lives like any other person and in need of recognition.

Staff of this issue: Pumeza N.Mntonintshi and Nomthunzi API.
May 2010