Lux­u­ries are a thing of the past

CityPress - - News - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­

Noz­izwe Mapoma (63) lives with her son Lungisa, his wife Khany­isa and two grand­sons In­ganathi (11) and Ayabonga (12) in their two-bed­room govern­ment-sub­sidised home in Walmer Town­ship, Port El­iz­a­beth.

Mapoma re­ceives a pen­sion from the govern­ment, her son works for the Nelson Man­dela Bay mu­nic­i­pal­ity and her daugh­ter-in-law works at a fac­tory. De­spite three in­comes, the fam­ily still bat­tles to pay the bills.

“We are find­ing it very dif­fi­cult to cope with the ever-in­creas­ing prices and the ex­pen­sive cost of liv­ing. Be­tween the three of us, we share the re­spon­si­bil­ity, and that makes it bet­ter,” says Mapoma.

“For in­stance, I buy elec­tric­ity and make sure that the small things like milk and bread are there for the chil­dren when they go to school.

“The par­ents of the two chil­dren have to pay the big­ger bills, like school fees, in­stal­ments on their two cars, and mak­ing sure there is food in the fridge and the rates are paid,” she says.

The Mapo­mas have had to make some cuts to stay afloat, and they avoid loan sharks at all costs.

Lux­u­ries that they used to in­dulge in a few years ago – such as the oc­ca­sional din­ner out and hol­i­days, as well as reg­u­lar pur­chases of mut­ton, chicken and beef – are now things of the past.

“Th­ese days, we only buy chicken be­cause it is much cheaper, and some­times beef. We no longer buy mut­ton be­cause it is too ex­pen­sive. We buy clothes be­cause we need to, not just for the sake of buy­ing them. We did not go on hol­i­day last De­cem­ber be­cause we can no longer af­ford to. It’s mainly about sur­vival – there is no time for lux­u­ries for us,” says Mapoma.

The fam­ily spends about R2 000 a month on gro­ceries, and close to R500 a month on pre­paid elec­tric­ity. Mapoma also has to pay R200 for her burial-so­ci­ety scheme and spends about R100 on cos­met­ics.

“We try to save by not switch­ing the geyser on. In­stead of an elec­tric stove, we use gas, which is much cheaper. The par­ents of the two boys used to go to work in sep­a­rate cars, but be­cause of the high fuel prices, they now use one car,” she says.

“The times are re­ally tough. I feel sorry for the up­com­ing gen­er­a­tion be­cause it’s get­ting worse by the day.”

Sit­ting on her cream couch and watch­ing TV, Mapoma says fi­nan­cial pres­sures some­times meant they were un­able to af­ford their R319 monthly DStv sub­scrip­tion.

“At least we don’t have to pay trans­port money for the kids be­cause they go to a school nearby and just walk there. They each get R10 daily to buy snacks at school. They also eat at school through the feed­ing scheme. If they don’t want to eat at school, they can also come back to eat here at home dur­ing breaks, be­cause I am al­ways home,” she says.

“I don’t un­der­stand why prices keep go­ing up but the salaries re­main the same. Ev­ery­thing keeps go­ing up, but there is noth­ing for the peo­ple.”


BAL­ANC­ING ACT Noz­izwe Mapoma (63) and her grand­son In­ganathi (11) at home in Walmer Town­ship, Port El­iz­a­beth

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