Domestic work is one of those areas where in many ways South Africa is considered the special child in the global community. Ruth is an expat living in South Africa and she joins the Ma(i)de Sessions to give an outsider’s observations on our local remix of this global institution. To paraphrase Trevor Noah: the world goes one way, and South Africa goes “Sha’p guys, we’ll meet you there – going to take a sho’t cut!”. Ahhh… this is why we love it here.

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What is the difference between polygamy and cheating? Is a man a financial plan? Should married couples have separate bedrooms or even houses? And then there are mother-in-laws… ’nuff said. This and more in Pt 2!

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21st century marriages are a dramatic affair with the old and the new constantly battling co-existence. Langa and Mandla come from different generations and have 35 years of domestic work experience between them. Drawing from their own experiences in addition to having worked for a variety of couples, they provide interesting observations on this evolving domestic institution.

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What determines our aspirations? Is it our concept of opportunity or its concept of us? We asked two domestic workers about their personal aspirations to help us unpack this conundrum.

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Pachida’s mom arrived in South Africa and built a strong and sustainable livelihood for her and her child. However, if you asked a six-year-old Pachida what her Mom did for a living, she would have told you, “My mom has a second family”. Then you might have said, “WAIT, HOOOLD UP! Can that be a job? In the economy? Parenting? Can we buy mothers, like on the market, with our credit cards?” Until you obviously realised, “Of course, it’s like human civilisation. Money can buy you like… anything”. Yes?

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Is Beauty real? Or is she actually Status in lipstick and stilettos? Furthermore, is it all part of a cosmic plan? Meisie and Sibahle help us to unpack what our face makeup tells us about our soul makeup. From interracial attraction, to skin bleaching, nose pegging, and even the Black girl version of ‘jungle fever’ – we like to call this socio-cosmetic surgery.

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What is the real value of domestic workers? What is real value, period, and how is it linked to our values? Is one person’s R10 worth more than another’s? What can we learn from domestic workers about budgeting and investing? Finally, who are the Khumalos, the Naidoos, and the Krugers and why do we try so hard to keep up with them? This and more in a very rich (pun intended) conversation with Nikki, a financial planner, on the world of maidenomics.

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Bra Joe is a taxi driver and a man of God. No – he’s LITERALLY a pastor. But aren’t taxi drivers meant to be lawless and Godless people? Well, apparently not. According to Bra Joe, in his line of work you’ve really gotta pray. A LOT. Mbali and Tuliza are joined by Mandla, a domestic worker, to interview Bra Joe on the life and times of taxi drivers. From passengers, to motorists, to policy makers, and fellow humans – there’s a little FYI in here for us all.

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Our domestic workers are the waste brigade. They know the money we’ve used and the money we’ve wasted well before it leaves our bank balance. They also observe the many social pressures that come with our pursuit of more. They know the old jeans we live in, the trendy shoes we only wore once, the untouched Bourbon we bought to impress our friends back in 2008, and that overpriced slimming tea we’d rather not talk about…

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Mfundo’s mom is a domestic worker and his dad was a taxi driver. He is a ‘born free’, but for him attending University has been more of a street fight than a birthright. He joins the Ma(i)de Sessions to tackle the ever-burning question: Which of us are born free?

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