Recently I started working as an intern in small town of Kuruman in the Northern Cape. I am from Venda. Growing up I would eat all the fruit that people know that part of Limpopo for. On completion of my schooling I then moved to Pretoria, where I am currently in the final year of my National Diploma in Journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). I never thought my journalism studies would bring me to this part of the world, where I have experienced the biggest under-development area I have ever imagined in South Africa.
Growing up in rural Venda one would expect that we don’t have modern day technologies, but we do. One can still be connected to the internet, there is a university in the area and big cities such as Polokwane and Pretoria are not too far to reach if there is something we cannot find nearby. We even have a football team in the Premier Soccer League. The Northern Cape, where I am working, has no university, Kuruman seems to be a deserted town and in my new home, the village of Maruping, I asked around for an internet café once and one young lady responded by asking me what an internet café is. I realised then that if I didn't have my mobile phone, I would be disconnected from the rest of the world. I also wasn't sure whether there was a lack of education in the area about such things or whether the young lady in question was just ignorant.
The area I find myself in should be rich as it has one of the biggest Manganese ore mines in the world, but it’s clear that the wealth hasn't trickled down as many residents still find themselves with no work. They would wake up in the morning; sit outside until the sun sets in the afternoon.
I am a huge football fan and was glad to find that there is one football team that is in the Vodacom League in the area. I have also found that this team is fighting hard to stay in this league, not because the team isn't any good, but I am told that it is experiencing a huge shortage of funds. It’s funding would definitely not come from this poor community.
The municipality here has also decided to build a neglected basketball court. It just doesn't make sense why there would be a basketball court when the community prefers football and even has a good football team. It would just make sense if there was a football pitch for people play in and for the team to train. I guess it’s one of those mind boggling decisions that some leaders make.
I am a journalism student; my choice of study was not incidental as I grew up in areas where people would often read newspapers – any kind of newspaper. I have arrived here to find a community that does not fight for information. I don’t even see people carrying newspapers and one has to worry because if they don’t access information through newspapers, the internet and other methods – they would then get left behind even further while the rest of the country moves on.