Porche Prins

Interview conducted in 2016

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Porche Prins works at Prestige Clothing.

She is 47 years old, is married to Jacobus Prins, and is the mother of two daughter’s: Angelique (30 years old) and Gaidureza (26 years old).

Like Noreen, Porche was not born in Cape Town originally. Her father is from George and her mother from Port Elizabeth. She was born in PE and moved to Ravensmead in Cape Town when she was about 1 year old. 

She started work in the industry at the age of 17. 

She joined Prestige in 2008 after leaving Charmfit in Epping. At Prestige, she makes dresses, pants, sweaters, blazers and t-shirts.

Like Noreen, Porche earns R911.62 per week. With this money she supports 3 people: herself, her husband and her youngest daughter. 

Neither her daughter not her husband are working: Jacobus lost his job in a retrenchment at an aluminium door and window installation company in 2008. He does odd-jobs (installations of windows etc) whenever he can. Over the past two years he has also started collecting old plastic and glass bottles and tins for recycling. He is given these items by Porche’s mother and some of their neighbours. It earns him less than R200 every few months.

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Porche lives in a brick house in Belhar Extension 21.

It is a small four room house on a larger 190m plot.  There is a lot of space to expand and she is building it over time. Right now there is too little space for a separate kitchen and she cooks in the same room as her living room.  

She applied for a government house in 1991 and was on the waiting list for many years. Yet when nothing happened she decided to use a loan provided by the clothing bargaining council to buy an empty plot of land in Belhar Extension 21. The council loaned her R30 000 in the late 1990s. She paid back this loan every month from deductions from her wages, and then in 2008 she paid the rest when she received her provident fund money after leaving Charmfit. 

There was no house on the property and so she continued to live in other places, such as at her mother’s house in Ravensmead. She rented from other people too. 

She tried to save money, as much as she could, but this saving was often needed for other costs. 

One day, many years later in 2011, she was on the train and overheard people talking about how it was possible to get a subsidy from government to help you build your own house. She took a chance and went to Cape Town and applied for a subsidy. She gave them the information they needed and it took her only a few months to get the subsidy. She received R84 000 and built the house in 2011. She moved in 2012.  

Getting her own house was a good thing. It is nice to have one’s own place since living with other people was difficult. She didn’t only stay with her mom. She was also a backyarder in other people’s properties for a number of years. 

“It is manna from heaven to have your own house” she said. 

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When she is paid on Friday’s, Porche buys her groceries.

She buys food at Shoprite but also at a local tuck shop and a cash and carry.  

Every month she buys 8 packets (4kg) of spaghetti and macaroni for about R120, 4kg of rice for R44, 2 litres of fish oil for R22, 10kg of chicken for R250, 4kg of mince for R120 and 4kg of meat for R280. She also buys other essentials like bread, butter, potatoes, onions, milk, sugar and cereal.    

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After buying basic toiletries and transport (she spends R150 a week for the train: it costs more if she must take a taxi if the train is late), she says her pocket is empty afterwards. 

Her meals are as follows: 

Breakfast is usually porridge, or Weetbix or Nutrific with milk and sugar. She eats at work while her husband and daughter eat at home. 

Lunch is usually a few slices of bread, hopefully with something on it. 

Dinner is varied. Her favourite meal is chicken curry, which she makes twice a week. She believes the secret to a good chicken curry is Rajah spices. 

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