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The Domestic Worker's 'Wahala'

Treatment given to house helps in Africa has been a major concern that has been kept mute by society. There are some house helps in Africa who are hired based on an agreement between employers and parents of the house helps. Africans usually hire house helps that are young between the ages of 15-30. Due to the nature of jobs of parents and lack of time, people hire house helps to take care of their house chores while they are busy with making money for themselves. However, the majority of these domestic worker’s experience challenges in the homes they find themselves in. Some are bold enough to share the challenges with the people around them.

Domestic workers in Africa usually have little or no educational background but most of them are very hardworking people. The description of their work ranges from cleaning the home, preparing food for the employer's family, taking care of the children in the home among others. However African house helps are made to perform all house chores at the same time do the work of a nanny but their employers usually see this to be a job that does not require a good pay. 

One of the worst challenge that female house helps face in Africa is physical and sexual assault. Majority of house helps in the continent face this problem. It is sometimes faced by the males also. They are either assaulted by their masters or the children of the masters. They are severely beaten for little mistakes they do. They are sometimes beaten for no reason and out of hatred from the side of their employer. Children of these employers see the treatment given to these house helps by their parents and follow the footsteps. These children sometimes throw sharp objects against the house helps and insult them at any time. The parents usually warn the house helps not to touch their children and for that matter they are even assaulted by these little children and have nothing to do about it.

They are sometimes assaulted to death and all the employer does is to fake lies to the family of the deceased employee. Most children who have these house helps at home do not show any sign of respect towards them. They are sometimes assaulted sexually by the men in the home. After the sexual assault, they are threatened not to announce to anyone. There are usually few bold ones who are able to report this issue to the police. Most of them fear that, since the employer is richer than they are, reporting the issue is rather going to land them 'from frying pan to fire'. They keep their mouth shut in the situation and sometimes come out with a health problem or are physically challenged. 

Also, these house helps work from morning till night throughout the week and month and end up receiving very little pay. Most of their employers think the work performed by these house helps are too minute to attract a high wage. Some who also accommodate and feed their house helps think that it is enough to pay them something small. Some employers also do not pay them at all after accommodating them, giving them food to eat and paying for them to learn a skill. 

Most house helps in Africa are also allowed to work for longer hours without rest. They work throughout the day and even at night. They are sometimes tasked with putting the children to sleep and being there for the kids when they wake up at night. Due to the nature of their work, they usually do not have time for themselves. They serve food on the family table and they do not have time to eat. They also do not pay attention to their health. Due to this, some house helps come out with health problems like stomach ulcer and respiratory disease from too much exposure to dust. Some of them work throughout the year and are not allowed to take some time off to visit their families. Some wicked employers think their house helps will go out to report them if they give them the chance. Some also think they will leave and never return. 

Due to these challenges faced by most house helps, some of them take French leave from their employer's home without the knowledge of anyone. There are also instances where some of these house helps commit suicide out of pain. However, there are still good employers who hire house helps and treat them very well as they would treat a member of their families. 

By: Grace Opoku


Content created and supplied by: DemPolice (via Opera News )

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