The basics of housekeeping save the day

Vusi Nzapheza Straight & 2 Beers
Most black middle-class families can now afford a domestic helper.
Most black middle-class families can now afford a domestic helper.
Image: 123RF

Like the average person, I hate housework. Making the bed and washing the dishes and then having to do it all over again in six months is not my cup of tea.

I finally understand why Nzimande resigned as a dishwasher at a mine.

We laughed at him then when he said he couldn't take it anymore. At almost 3,000 employees working shifts, he had a lot of dishes to wash.

One of the perks of democracy has been the upward mobility of the black middle class, which has enabled the family to afford domestic help.

Hiring a maid used to be the exclusive forte of the Van der Merwes, but the Kunenes have in the last 25 years been having their Nozipho in the kitchen.

Although I detest housework, I am also loath to have my space invaded on a daily basis. For starters, I am not a morning person. When others wake up bright and early every morning, that's my cue to catch some shut-eye.

Night time is when I play with the witches and ghosts. When dawn cometh, we retire our brooms. So, can you imagine the monotonous sound of a vacuum cleaner as it sucks.

I don't even want to think about the sound a washing machine turbine makes when it spins while I'm trying to sleep. My papers are also strewn all over the house and any slight disturbance or neat-packing throws me off balance for weeks.

Despite my unusual sleeping habits, the house still needs to be spruced up and the food still needs to be cooked.

Fortunately, I was shipped to boarding school when I was 14 years and I learnt the hard way that you don't fill a pot with water when cooking wors.

I also braai'd a lot of pap before a good Samaritan showed me how to regulate the heat. Over the years, I have become something of a gourmet chef, a real connoisseur with a discerning palate.

When the mood grabs me, I can rustle a mean kidney and avocado risotto. What I do with a half-skopo on a Saturday is a secret as well-kept as the Coca-Cola formula.

So, I get by. I can operate the washing machine although I have on many occasions failed to separate the clothes by colours. As a result, some of my pants have changed colours from burgundy to turquoise when a new golf shirt bled all over the wash.

Of course, I do have a char lady who comes in once a week to remove the cobwebs from the hidden corners.

To her I leave the spring-cleaning, the windows, curtains and the bedding.

This gives me the peace of mind and, of course, I avoid the ulcer that comes with having your domestic worker fall ill or not return from the Christmas break. A friend of mine was nearly in tears because her Nozipho was unreachable on the phone as schools were about to reopen.

She didn't know the first thing about preparing her own kids for school.

Despite the nasty things she says about Nozipho on social media, such as nicking her sugar or cooking oil, she realised she needed her.

I ducked a bullet when I avoided dependency on full-time domestic help.

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