The nation’s social and economic woes may be eased by harnessing the experience and wisdom of active pensioners.
Despite its middle-income ‘status’ and a few living in opulence, the country is struggling to deal with underdevelopment and poverty experienced by many.
This can partly be attributed to a lack of skills, experience and commitment, which pensioners have, and can still use to better the nation. Other factors are corruption and greed, crime and a lack of patriotism, elements which active and capable pensioners lament.
These were some of the issues raised in an interview with Alex News by former Caxton employee and Alex resident Stephen Tshawe who retired recently.
The soft-spoken 66-year-old who lives in Far East Bank, accumulated skills in the newspaper industry and thanked Caxton Newspapers for the opportunity. Now he ponders a modest laid-back future while still having the vigour and desire to contribute to the country. He is worried about the country importing skills when thousands like him can still work at lower pay, and achieve tangible and professional results knowing that their effort will benefit their offspring.
Tshawe was born in Standerton. After joining Caxton in 1972 he rose through the ranks at the company’s Doornfontein base.
He worked in newspaper distribution as a runner, driver and supervisor. In the process, he learnt the paper’s production processes from proofs, sales, editorial, printing machines, fibre optics, truck loading and security checks. Also, he acquired communication skills.
“They opened my young mind at a difficult time in the history of the country, exposed and kept me busy in the world of work until my retirement,” recalled Tshawe. Referring to the company as a parent which also nurtured him, Tshawe said, “I will forever remain indebted to Caxton.” He advised youngsters to hold onto their jobs and do them well. “Don’t loaf without reason and all will be well. The company will only dismiss employees for gross misconduct.”
Tshawe believes that the accumulated experience of thousands of pensioners who are still physically and mentally able can do wonders for the country if their know-how was tapped.
“They [pensioners] are trustworthy and able to work without supervision.”
He still rises at 5am but instead of trudging to work, he takes daily 5km walks before tucking into a healthy breakfast followed by ‘wasted’ time on a sofa watching TV programmes. He said this time could be put to better use by companies willing to use pensioners’ experience in the workplace.
He intends joining other pensioners who are involved in social and physical activities to ward off the boredom and keep fit, mentally and physically, and looks forward to former work colleagues visiting to reminisce about the past.
Tshawe is also worried about the increase in crime. “I wish street committees, neighbourliness and uBuntu spirit which worked well from 1972 until the early 90s, can be resuscitated to also rid the township of druglords preying on our children.”
He urged children to have self-pride and shun the drug nyaope and excessive alcohol consumption, respect the elderly and avoid doing crime.