This has to be the biggest bone of contention the country over. I’m talking about child minders otherwise known as bosisi. If you are anything like me – a working mom – then you will most definitely have a horror story or two banked up. I spoke to 5 working moms who were all more than happy to share the experiences they had when it came to managing their children’s’ nannies.
Thobile* is a 28 year old mother of 2 year old Phiwayena*, a single mother who live with her parents in Matsapha. She works as copywriter at an agency in Mbabane and leave very early for work, leaving her 2 year old in the care of a live-out nanny who is expected at work by 7am. “I literally cross my fingers every morning in anticipation of her arrival to work. She has developed a habit of always giving good excuses most Mondays for not being able to get to work. If it had been raining the day before, I have come to expect that she will definitely not come to work that day, reason being that her area is impenetrable by car due to the muddy road.
“The worst part is her addiction to whatsapp. She is always on Whatsapp. My father came back from the fields abelusa and she saw my daughter, half naked and barefooted walking aimlessly on the road close to the house. She had obviously wandered out of our compound. His shock was multiplied as he saw a stray dog growling at her. It seemed as though he had come just in the nick of time.
When he went inside the house to find out why his grandchild was found in harm’s way he was shocked to see the nanny lounging in the living room with her earphones on and chatting away. Needless to say, she immediately lost her job that day and even though I was inconvenience with having find a replacement, I was glad that my daughter was at least well taken care of.”
Anele* 30 is a sales representative for a media company and the proud mother of 2 boys age 11 and 3 years old. She lives with her sons and their nanny in a flat in the capital city and has a busy work schedule that sees her getting home later than 6pm. “My horror starts everyday at 5am when she gets up in the morning. She always makes a b-line to the lounge to play her Encandweni CD – loudly! Even if I were a heavy sleeper, there would be no way for me to sleep through that, so I too have to get up. This gets most annoying on weekends when I want to sleep in. I have asked her on several occasions to keep the volume down and the days when I voice out my disapproval of the music she will angrily do the dishes and take it all out on my plates.
I have a number of incomplete dinning sets because of this.” I ask Anele why she doesn’t fire her since she has already voiced out her concerns severally to which she replies “My sons are used to having her around. She has been with us for 3 months so far and yet my sons have already taken to her and they all get along. She seems to like them too so for that reason I have decided to put up with her antics.
Her cleaning methods leave a lot to be desired and when she doesn’t want to do something, she will not. I have often come home from work to do the cooking myself as she would be comfortably propped on my couch watching soapies and on her phone whatsapping.
While conducting these interviews I am reminded of my personal horror story. The part that I still cannot get over is the fact that news of my daughter’s nanny’s antics only got to me after she voluntarily left. The new nanny I hired told me all that my neighbors told her about her predecessor.
I live in Matsapha and I have live in nannies due to the nature of my job. My new nanny told me how whenever I would leave for work the old nanny would leave right behind me to visit her boyfriend – with my 4 year old in tow! Apparently her boyfriend lived in Manzini so they would use public transport to and fro and I cannot help but think of all the horrific accidents that could have befallen them, plus I can’t give my child an antidote to un-see what she may have witnessed during these visits
“My daughter was a year old when I got my first job as a receptionist in a small marketing company in town.” Says 21 year old Siyandza* “Due to my busy schedule, I sent my baby to live with her grandmother and the arrangement was that I would have her on the weekends. During the times when she was with my grandmother her minder seemed to love her and would dote on her every chance she got.
Little did we all know that it was all an act! The minder who was suddenly tasked with the responsibility of caring for a 1 year old finally lost her cool and passed unsavory remarks about me to my daughter’s auntie saying that I am a lazy mother and that she doesn’t understand kutsi bamfumbeleni ngeluswane yena when I the mother am still alive. Added to this, she wouldn’t even change my daughter’s diaper during the day and only change it in the afternoon when my daughter’s grandmother is expected back home. This left her with a severe nappy rash and lesions that needed medical attention.
Nelisiwe* 25 is the proud mother of a two year old girl. She also has a demanding work schedule that compels her to seek outside assistance as she lives alone. Thinking that an elderly woman would come with less stress and baggage she hired a woman in her 50s whom she felt would take good care of her daughter. “Gogo abengibonela kakhle shem untfwanami but she was addicted to alcohol and was always drunk, something I missed when hiring her. Whenever I would come home from work I would find empty bottles littered outside by the bin and the stench that would greet me at the door when coming into the house, you would think that I was running a shebeen.
One day I came home to find my daughter straddle on her back and her drunk! The colorful language that she would use whenever she spoke was enough to bring shame to even the most rudest person.” After seeing the shock plastered on my face she added “I was scared of reprimanding her since she was my elder and bekutawba ngatsi ngiyamtsetsisa.
I was forced to get my younger sister to come and stay with me for a while atogadza gogo since I felt sorry for her and didn’t want to fire her. Gogo no longer works for me now, after a few months into the job watsi akasakhoni yena and she quit but she still hasn’t quit the bottle!”
If the emotions I went through when compiling this article is anything to go by I am pretty sure that these stories managed to strike a chord within you. We would like to know what your experiences have been, they don’t necessarily have to be horrific ones but it would be a treat to hear from you with a comment below.
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