By Timothy Ivusah
2020 has been a tough year for all both locally and internationally but no matter how difficult it has been, it has only made people stronger. Many people did lose their livelihoods, others sunk into depression while others resulted in to violence and crime. A few who managed to fight through these times are still struggling to stay in touch with reality.
I was lucky to hang out with Njoki(not her real name), her mum and her daughter Ciiku ( also not her real name) at her grocery shop located in Soweto area, Kayole. Just like many other girls of her age, Njoki’s man was arrested and incarcerated by the state due to false accusations that he was a drug peddler and an alleged thief. This came as a shock to her since she had just given birth and had no secondary means of provision of the essentials she needed. She could not turn to her mother since she too was struggling to keep her head above the water and support her two younger siblings with their education. She had to find other means soon to fend for herself and her daughter before the emerging bills submerged her.
A few months down the line she’d tried all the possible means she could fathom but to no avail. All she got was only enough to see her through a few days before she could go back to the fields again. It was until the inception of kazi mtaani when she felt like finally her prayers were being answered after she got shortlisted as one of the candidates for the job. Things went on fine for quite a while until the second phase when her supervisor was transferred to a different lot and another one brought in. This did not bother Njoki that much as far as the usual routine of signing in and out was followed. One day, she got a call from her mother that her child was not feeling well and she decided to sign off an hour early. Little did she realise that this was going to be the genesis of her misfortunes.
When she got back the next day, she found that she had already been replaced with no apparent reason. She went to report the matter to the chief’s office and the chief assured her that he would look into the matter. Two weeks later, she revisited the chief again but this time around the chief refused to see her and asked his guards to see her off. She refused to leave demanding further clarification to which she got no answers. She decided to seek help from the justice centres around but not much could be done.
Later, through rumours which as usual are not far from the truth, she discovered that it had been a case of profiling and gender based violence as well as her family status in the community that had cost her to miss out on equal distribution of resources and fairness that she deserved. This is against her constitutional rights. Having no connections, she could not push further for her case and her last result was to use up the little savings she had accumulated over the first phase of kazi mtaani to boost up her mothers’ grocery shop as partners. This business is what has been sustaining her thus far.