Diary of the revisit of the South-African delegation

We do not only go for South Africa to keep contact with people there – no – our friends and aquaintances do also visit us here in Germany. Such a revisit took place in July 2003. Here we describe in short what we have experienced. Participants (South Africa):
  1. Mr Thobani Noqoli (Xolelanani Project)
  2. Mr Thabo Nxozi ( Xolelanani Project)
  3. Mrs Nadeene Madath (NUMSA)
  4. Mr Viwe Magula (NUMSA)
The delegation had been welcomed at Hannover Airport in the morning by Holger Neumann (IGM Braunschweig, youth-secretary), Marcus Diedrich (Xolelanani-Society) and Nadine Henn (Xolelanani-Society).
After a short welcome the visitors had been driven to Braunschweig, where they moved into their guest-families houses and had the time to relax after the exhausting flight. In the late afternoon we met to explain the programme of the following week to the participants. Afterwards the IG Metall and its structure had been presented by us. Furthermore we gave insight into the German wage-scale-policy and explained the German system of apprenticeship (vocational college and enterprise). After that we visited the “Delegiertenversammlung” of the Braunschweig IG Metall administration. In the evening the youth committee of Braunschweig (OJA)invited us to dinner in a German restaurant where a relaxed conversation between the German and the South-African juveniles took place.
We visited VW in Braunschweig, where representatives of the trainees guided us through the workshop for trainees in electronics and mechanics. There the contents and the course of the apprenticeship for the profession of an elctronic and an industrial mechanic have been explained to us.
The chair of works held a lecture about the work of the VW works committee, its structures (local and global) and about its possibilities to influence the management of the concern. And consequently also on what happens at VW in South-Afrika. In the afternoon we visited the “car-city” (Autostadt) Wolfsburg, and looked at the different attractions. At a evening barbecue in a park in Braunschweig we critically thought and talked about what had happened that day.
One example: On one hand the “Autostadt” is an object to increase prestige for VW, that had to be realized with lots of money. On the other hand VW tries to economize staff by cutting down expenses. E. g. 5000x5000, or more current: additional apprenticeships by bonus-systems.
On Thursday we met representatives of the “Niedersächsische Staatskanzlei” (foreign aid policy, cooperation with developing countries). There Thobani Noqoli presented the Xolelanani-Project and its development. Besides we discussed about possible fields of activity of the project in future. After that we were interviewed by Radio Flora, a local radio station. The contents of the conversation have also been the future of the project and the cooperation with the trade union NUMSA. In the afternoon we went to a youth-project that gives unemployed juveniles the possibililty to prepare to a job. There are many offers like: handicraft in a workshop for bicycles, joiner´s work, writing applications and a curriculum vitae. People there also try to find out the juveniles´ interests and capabilities. Then, if necessary - in cooperation with the federal state Niedersachsen – further courses e. g. computer courses are offered.
Result of the day: In both countries there are the same problems which are combatted with the same offered projects.
In Celle Dietrich Höper (HVHS-Hustedt / adult education centre) guided us through the town. In the evening we met the working groups “Nicaragua” and “Brazil” who were just preparing their current brigade. There our visiters informed about the work of the team for international matters (Internationaler Arbeitskreis) of the IG-Metall in these both countries.
Of course we have also been to Weimar where we dealed with the topic “Drittes Reich” and went to the concentration camp memorial Buchenwald.
One day later Stephan Körprich and the IG Metall youth-secretary Jürgen Wawersig welcomed our South-African colleagues in the youth hostel of Würzburg. Afterwards we informed each other about the current state of the Xolelanani-Project. The evening ended with a visit at a wine-festivity near to Würzburg.
After a restful sleep we met for lunch at Jürgen Wawersigs and Bianca Winters home and talked about the programme for the week. In the evening we cooked and ate together. Then we presented the new film about the Xolelanani-Project which had been produced while the visit of the brigade in February 2002. In Amberg a press conference with the “Amberger Zeitung”, “Amberger Nachrichten” and the TV station “Oberpfalz TV” had been organized at the IG-Metall-Verwaltungsstelle Amberg. Afterwards we had the chance to visit the TV station OTV (backgrounds, sceneries, technic...) Of cours fun was not missing as well. So we went to the stalactite cavern “Teufelshöhle” at Pottenstein. The day ended with a barbecue on a farm.
The youth-secretary Elisabeth Mongs welcomed us in the IGM administration, Regensburg. From there on we viewed the historic old part of the town. Later there was a meeting in the open youth-center Regensburg with social worker Uwe Hering. He explained the current programme and the possibilities of the center to us. After that we discussed about the problems of the local youth (crime, drugs, unemployment).
Arriving at the IGM house for education (Jugendbildungsstätte) in Schliersee Stephan Körprich showed the delegation the possibilities of the house and the surroundings. Education was the topic of the following debate with the headmaster, instructional employees and the participants of a seminar for representatives of trainees from Munich. Later on discussions about contents of seminars, trade unions in Germany and South Africa followed. Besides the Xolelanani-Project has been introduced to the people from Munich. Our South-African guests told the participants of the seminar about the current situation in South-Africa so that an interchange about international work of trade unions could take place.
The last evening:
Our guests cooked a delicious South-African meal for us. To our regret that was the last possibility for an interchange in a cosy atmosphere.
We also visited:
  • the enterprise König & Bauer in Würzburg
  • the main administration of the IG Metall in Frankfurt/Main
  • the enterprise SKD (Schwedische Kugellagerfabrik)
  • the IG Metall administration in Schweinfurt
  • some members of the OJA Schweinfurt
  • the IG Metall administration in Amberg
  • the meeting of the OJA
  • the representatives for trainees of the enterprise Huek Folien in Pirk near to Weiden/Oberpfalz
  • the main administration of the Bavarion IGM in Munich
further activities:
  • a hiking-tour in the „Wendelstein-mountains”
  • a sightseeing tour through Munich (watching the town-hall at the “Marienplatz”)
  • watching the old part of Würzburg and the traditional festivity “Kiliani”
What else did our South-African friends do with us in that time? We discussed, created basics and gave more informations about:
  • problems of the South-African population concerning jobs
  • current campaigns of the Xolelanani-Project
  • ways of production in enterprises
  • function of a works council
  • tasks and aims of the IGM, especially concerning youth
  • current situation of apprenticeship and development of membership
  • current situation in the IGM administrations and the different situations for employees in South Africa and Germany
  • payment for apprenticeship
  • problems in youth-education
  • problems of apprentices and trainee-representatives
  • cooperation between a works council and the IG Metall
  • organization and structure of the German trade unions federation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) and the cooperation with the particular trade unions in Germany
But of course there has also been an interchange of experiences which our South-African friends could collect at home. As well as a discussion about the future of NUMSA (the trade union for metal in South-Africa) and the further cooperation with the IG-Metall.