Why the Maxhosa Africa R4k stipend is a slap on the face

Knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa Africa.

Knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa Africa.

Published Jul 24, 2023


On Mandela Day, South African luxury clothing brand MaXhosa Africa tweeted that it had openings for people who wanted to be part of its Residency Programme.

“We are proud to announce the MaXhosa Africa 2023 Residency Programme:

This is an exciting opportunity for individuals to showcase their capability and capacity to perform in the fast-paced world of high-fashion design, production, operations and retail,” tweeted MaXhosa.

While this may be a great opportunity for young graduates in the fields of human resources, finance, marketing, multimedia and social media, but to me it is total exploitation.

It is no secret that many employees in this country are exploited. You will find companies paying interns a stipend of R2500 a month but do the workload of a five-digits earner.

Many companies get away with overworking employees while underpaying them because of the high unemployment rate. They know that people are desperate for jobs. So, R4000 a month is better than nothing, right?

What’s even worse is that the requirements for these positions don’t usually match the salary. They want someone with a degree, experience and their own vehicle, only to pay them R10000 a month, which is very little in this economy.

Which makes you wonder, what’s the point of spending a lot of money on higher education only to be paid less than what you were paying for your studies? It is so demotivating.

And the workload, let’s not even get there because you would be doing three people’s jobs on a single person’s low income.

Crazy as is, there would still be thousands of people who will apply for those jobs because they need the money.

Such is the norm in this country. That’s why the government is comfortable giving people R350 per month, expecting them to survive when they (our leaders) don’t even spend that little on a single meal.

And in the case of MaXhosa, that R 4000 is so disappointing because it won’t even get you a MaXhosa Africa picnic towel. In fact, it’s almost the same price as their R3500 scarf.

Also, paying people R4 000 in 2023 is disrespectful. I remember at my first job, where I was interning as a final year student, I was getting R4800 per month, and that’s almost eight years ago.

In 2023, you would expect people to be getting more but seeing that they are getting even less is disappointing, to say the least.