Josephine Makobela from Ga-Matamanyane Village in the Moletjie area was named the 2015 Domestic Worker of the Year during the second First Lady’s Domestic Workers Awards held at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort last Friday evening.
Manamela was completely bowled over when her name was pulled from a box containing the names of 100 domestic workers nominated from the five districts.
Her prize includes a house to be built by the First Lady Trust in partnership with Vodacom and Limpopo Development Agency next year, a Vodacom Smart Kicka smartphone as well as kitchen appliances. The house will comprise three bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and garage.
“The house will ensure that her living conditions are improved. This gesture is in keeping with the core vision of the First Lady Charity Trust which aims to improve the lives of needy people, especially rural women, children and people with disabilities,” Limpopo First Lady Maggie Mathabatha said.
She said the reason why they came up with the Domestic Workers Awards was that they wanted to recognise, honour and celebrate domestic workers because domestic work is one of the important jobs in the country. “When we conceptualised the idea of Domestic Workers Awards we wanted to honour and recognise the hard work of women who help to clean our houses, help raise our children and there are always there in our houses when we are not there. We wanted to thank them for their hard work and their sacrifices,” Mathabatha said.
Manamela who is employed by a household in Senwabarwana said the house came at a time when she needed a better home for her and her five children. “I live with my children in a two roomed house at Ga-Matamanyane and it is no longer conducive for us. I think this is a blessing from God because I have been praying for a better home. I want to thank the Limpopo First Lady Trust and other stakeholders for thinking of us domestic workers,” she said.
Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba in a message of support urged employers to treat domestic workers with dignity. “We are aware of their daily humiliations at various workplaces and homes. At times there are derogatory names attached to them and that defines them in different ways such as nannies, girls and maids. We are saying to those who are unfairly treating domestic workers that in the country, domestic work isn’t just a job. It is emblematic of the country’s massive social inequality which is rooted in its racially segregated past. I urge everyone to treat domestic workers with dignity,” Ramathuba said.
The runners up were Tsakani Mhlane from Mopani district and Elizabeth Manasoe from Sekhukhune. Mhlane won a microwave oven and a Vodacom Smart Kicka smartphone while Manasoe also received a phone and a breakfast set.
Explaining the criteria for the Awards, Mathabatha said the awards were open to all domestic workers in all the districts. “The trust selects 20 domestic workers per district using the draw method and the lucky ones chosen become eligible for the provincial award,” Mathabatha said.
Story: Herbert Rachuene