My Friend Zanele

As you might remember, I have been spending time getting to know our domestic helper Zanele.  I invite her to have lunch with Ruthie and I every Tuesday and Thursday, inside at our table, therefore breaking all the rules!  Last week after an ordinary lunch (by my standards) she thanked me and said “you are spoiling me.”   Well, good.
Whenever possible Brian and I bring her home after work  so she can avoid the long walk and expensive taxi ride.  Last week we were able to meet Zanele’s two daughters at her home.  Unfortunately Rachel was not with us, but Rebekah and Ruthie had a wonderful time playing with 5 year old Aphile and several of the neighborhood children.  They play tag and other games in the streets because they do not have toys or play areas.  Apparently the lot in front of Zanele’s house was a playground many years ago but now people dump their trash there.   It did not seem to matter that Aphile and two of the other kids did not know much English, they were all playing together and giggling as if they had known each other for years.
rebekah-in-imbaliRebekah asked if she could spend the night with Zanele’s family… We settled for a long visit instead.
Zanele, her two daughters Nana and Aphile, and neighbor boy

Zanele, her two daughters Nana and Aphile, and a neighbor boy

Ruthie and Aphile

Ruthie and Aphile writing with rocks in the dirt. We showed Aphile how to use rocks to color on rocks

Zanele's house

Zanele's house - the one her parents were forced into in 1964. Zanele now lives there with her two daughters, and her sister and her son

imbali

This is the view from Zanele’s house overlooking part of Imbali (her township).  In the distance you can see some of the more recent government houses.

On Saturday we invited Zanele and her family to come to our house for a Braai (cookout).  None of them know how to swim, so we took Aphile into the pool.  She had a wonderful time; we all did.

dinner-with-aphile

We sent Aphile home with a box of colored chalk to write on the rocks outside her house, and a promise that we will get together soon to celebrate her birthday… She turns six the same day that Rachel turns 11 (February 21).

A dream of Zanele’s is to learn how to use a computer.  For years she has wanted to take a computer class, but never has the money.  So now, after she finishes her work here, I am showing her how to use my computer.  She sent her first email the other day!  Watch for a future post written by Zanele herself 🙂

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5 Responses to “My Friend Zanele”


  1. 1 Angela February 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    What a wonderful day and what a beautiful family! Hope you have many more happy times together!

  2. 2 Robyn February 11, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Those pictures really warmed my heart!

  3. 3 Luke & Cat Sweigart February 11, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    great stuff!!

  4. 4 Anne February 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I love it. I love it. The pictures are beautiful, and I am so glad Zanele is getting opportunities through you that she hasn’t had before. God bless all of you.


  1. 1 Opportunities « South African Tea Time Trackback on June 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm

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