Pens that go missing in Rural Zululand

If Nosipho lost a pen as a child, she would be beaten.

Nosipho’s one year old baby with fluffy hair, a sign of malnourishment, was sucking her mom’s school pens. We were sitting in their concrete house in rural Zululand after climbing a steep, sandy path past bushes to get inside. The small house has grey concrete walls, grey concrete floors, a grey corrugated iron ceiling and a little kitchen table with four chairs. There are no mats, carpets, tiles, pictures or cushions. Inside were two beds although four adults live there and four children do too.

I thought the little 13 month old child had my pen in her mouth too, so I made some silly remark about how I always lose pens… because I always lose pens. I even had to pay a security guard for his pen when I arrived at a story to report for EWN without one. He charged me 10 Rand.

So Nosipho told me the story about how when she was a child her parents would give her a pen for school and tell her you she could only have a new one when the pen was finished. She had to keep her pen and then take it to her mom when it was dry and empty and then she would get a new one. If she lost her pen, she would be beaten, she says.

That is poverty.

Have I ever in all my many years actually finished a pen? Have you?

Nosipho's house in Ingwavuma, KZN, near Swaziland

Nosipho’s house in Ingwavuma, KZN, near Swaziland

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


About Kat child

I am a journalist (big smile: I love saying that) and a coffee lover. I believe journalism should tell untold stories and give a voice to the voiceless. I love Cape Town, the beach, cheese, chocolate and Origin's cappucinos. I don't see the point of making one's bed and I wear odd socks.
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5 Responses to Pens that go missing in Rural Zululand

  1. Akin says:

    I have a few times but wow this story gets one thinking about all the ‘small’ things we take for granted.

  2. John Child says:

    That’s poverty! That will be a great title for a number of cameos like this one.

    Telling real stories like this will help us understand what poverty is like & I trust make us grateful for all we have. Hopefully we’ll be more generous than we are & learn to share what we have.

    At the heart of the universe is the Triune God. It is his nature to be continuously self-giving, to be marvellously generous. So when the Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost the early church was incredibly generous sharing what they had with those in need so there were no poor among them. There are more than enough resources on & in the earth to last all humanity till the end of history if we are good stewards of what God has given us. Of course, because of the fall we are not good stewards so there is huge inequality, inefficiency, greed, environmental degradation, etc. But with redemption & the advance of Christ’s kingdom we, the church, should be reversing all that. Sadly all too often the church has a poor theology & neglects her creation task to rule the world as good stewards under God.

  3. yikes never finished a pen and I mean how many times this year alone have i had to buy my daughter new stuff for school cause she lost her crayons and glue . She cant find her scissors because of some long tale she always tells me. Thanks Kat , you truly make me realise how fortunate I am

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