Face to Face with Thembela Gogela
Q: What do you do?
A: I am a sales representative at Avbob Mutual Society.
Q: What do you find interesting about your job?
A: I take pride in working with people, helping them make informed decisions so they can be prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Also, being able to travel around the country, exploring different communities and cultures is therapeutic to me.
Q: What best advice would you give an average person when it comes to funeral policies?
A: Policies are essential to the average person, to prevent them being consumed by loan sharks that have high interest rates in the event of death. They bring peace of mind, comfort to you and your loved ones so as to give your loved ones a memorable, meaningful and dignified burial.
Q: What is it that most people neglect when taking out funeral policies that later places them at a disadvantage?
A: Non-payment. When you do not pay your funeral policy on a monthly basis it will eventually lapse, and when it does, no claim will be considered. People must take good care of their policies as we find ourselves living under a fearful pandemic with a high rate of death. We do not know when this pandemic will end.
Q: How has Covid-19 affected funeral cover?
A: It has put a lot of workers at a disadvantage, particularly those in the private sector, job losses and retrenchments due to businesses closing down. This has drastically affected the insurance industry. Those employees had policies that were no longer being paid, which resulted in lapses. However we, the Avbob family, have retrenchment benefits whereby we offer a six months premium holiday to those affected. By so doing we are giving them time to recover financially and be able to carry on paying their policies after six months.
Q: Which women do you look up to and why?
A: I look up to every hard working and financially independent woman. I look up to women who have been physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually abused but are still going strong. I look up to women who speak the truth, who will stand, fight who are even prepared to die for the truth.
The heroines who bring hope to the hopeless, I am talking about the 20 000 women who marched in 1956 to the Union Buildings to protest against legislation by the apartheid government, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Noxolo Grootboom, Chriselda Lewis to mention a few.
Q: How do you feel about GBV?
A: I feel we are made punch bags by men who were not taught good morals. We are victims of men who are not mentally stable due to lack of self-discipline, violence in their homes and lack of moral teaching and values. Drug and alcohol abuse have taken their toll, we are now living in a society where criminals are protected by our government. We have drug lords roaming the street who are well known by the police but are doing nothing to end this catastrophe. It is high time government brings back the death sentence to end this terror.
Q: What are your other interests?
A: I want to become a motivational speaker, helping other women out there who are feeling less of themselves. I want to make them believe in themselves. We are the most powerful creatures and can overcome anything. We have the ability to change the world.
Q: What does the month of August mean to you?
A: Since it is my birth month, to me it means “revolution”. It means, I cannot be the same person I was yesterday, I cannot endure the pains I endured yesterday, be as frustrated as I was yesterday, sit and watch others going through pain and suffering, be the self-absorbed, egocentric person I was yesterday…I must be humble. I cannot turn a blind eye to any form of abuse and criminality, be silent when we cry our hearts out for change, and change begins with you and me.