Most of the time, we go about our merry way, indulging in our comfy lifestyles, kick off our shoes, let the dishes pile up.
The reasons include: You’re tired and you’re sure the domestic worker will make sense of the mess when she arrives.
You pay after all, right?
Most of the time, domestic workers get treated awfully and they keep your secrets under wraps in fear that they may jeopardise their jobs.
The fear is real because about 60 million of domestic workers globally have no social protection or benefits.
No matter who you are, or what status you have, treat your fellow brother/ sister with kindness, empathy and respect. No one deserves to be treated like any less of a human being.
We’ve compiled a list of harrowing and odd confessions from 10 South African domestic workers who prefer to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons:
1.”I was the domestic that had to pick up everything that my employer left around…and I mean EVERYTHING.
I didn’t mind the dirty socks and clothes because that was part of my job. But, one day after my weekend break; I came home to find a dead rat that had exploded from the inside out (because of the type of rat poison used) in the middle of the TV room.
The worse part. The rat had been laying there since it died with flies and ants infesting it and a pool of dry blood laying around. Instead of someone in the home cleaning it up; they left it there the entire weekend till I came back.”
Did you know?
There are about 67 million domestic workers throughout the world‚ and about 5.2 million in Africa.
2. “Started my first day of being a domestic at a home in Constantia…
First thing the “lady of the house” asked me was what type of ‘cleaning qualification’ I have. I was more disappointed than insulted knowing that I had no qualification.”
3. “Every morning I had to make ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam’ tea in bed at exactly 6:45 am.
I came an hour late one morning and got fired without any proper reason except for being late.
I live in Khayelitsha…they live in Camps Bay and I missed the taxi so of course I was going to be late. I was more shocked at their lack of empathy than anything.”
4. “My madam always wants the house to be tidy and clean before she gets back from her morning errands. This is difficult because her 6 year old son who I also look after; always wants to play with me.
I can’t even put the TV on to keep him occupied because she insists I play with him instead of let him watch TV. But if the house isn’t clean she gets angry.”
5. “I was never just the domestic worker.
I was used as a sex slave for the man of the house. If I told; I would get fired and he said he’d make sure that I never found a job again.”
Did you know?
In SA‚ domestic workers can join the SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union to represent them.
6. “One of the children I looked after couldn’t have milk products because it made him sick. But he loved custard. His mother let him eat it whenever he wanted to and whenever he did he threw up all the time!
I had to clean the yellow vomit up whenever he felt like custard. It was an endless cycle of custard vomit until I eventually quit.”
7. “The lady of the house was having an affair with another man whenever her husband went on business. I had to pretend like nothing was happening or else I would get fired.”
8. “I had to look after my employer’s kids and was hardly allowed to see my own.”
9. “I started as a domestic worker when I was 16 years old. I had no education so I didn’t know about protection. I fell pregnant with my first child and thought I was just bloated…
While I was cleaning the bathroom floor I gave birth and my then madam just stared at me in shock without helping.”
10. “I had to make sure that the lady of the house and her little dog had matching clothing on and laid out for each of them…”
*No names have been issues to the fact that some ladies still work for these employers and all have chosen to remain anonymous.