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You have the right to a clean toilet

Everyone has a human right to proper water and sanitation, and in South Africa, cleaner spaces make for a healthy future. “As South Africa celebrated Human Rights Day on 21 March, we at Unilever, recognise the right for everyone to lead a happy, healthy life. It is a day to reflect on how many people are denied these rights and what we can do to effect positive change in the lives of the people of our nation,” says Ant Borstlap Senior Brand Manager, Domestos.
“We spoke to the beloved Mam’ Lillian Dube, a cancer survivor, and popular actress best known for her role as Sister Bettina Khumalo in Mzansi’s popular series Soul City. She shared her views on the right to a clean toilet, how she exercises that right and how she motivates others to do the same.
“Mam’ Lillian shares the story of how she learnt about good hygiene as a little girl and what she believes about the importance of keeping your toilet clean.
• What was the state of Water and Sanitation when you were growing up?
We didn’t have toilets when I was growing up in Lesotho. We used stones and grass when nature called. People who grew up in rural areas can relate. We accepted it – it was a way of life. We made do with what we had. In the township, we had one communal tap for the whole street.
• What do you think of the state of Water and Sanitation in South Africa today?
There are people who have no clue about hygiene. However, I am happy because we have toilet cleaning products like Domestos, toilet brushes and gloves to clean every part of the toilet.
• Having a clean toilet is a basic human right. How can we action this?
You have a right to a clean toilet, but you also have a duty to clean your toilet properly. At home, you must clean your toilet twice a day, every day. At schools, toilets must be cleaned after recess and after school. We cannot be lazy; if we have detergents and don’t use them, there is no point!
• Is hygiene and cleanliness an important part of your life?
Absolutely! I never had a toilet growing up and now I have three. I feel so empowered and it gives me peace of mind that I have the means to clean it. Although I constantly clean my toilets, I clean them again when visitors come to my home.
• Do you have a fun memory of cleaning a toilet?
When I lived in Orlando East, we used sheep dip to clean our toilets! My neighbour and I would get home from school and clean our toilets. It was like a competition where we battled to win the title of the cleanest toilet! Of course, we both won, because both our toilets were clean. It gave us a sense of pride.
• Do you believe it’s important to use a germ-killing bleach?
Germs are everywhere, but you can’t see them, so you must trap them and kill them. That’s why I use a germ-killing bleach, because it gets rid of disease-causing germs.
• What are common mistakes people make after flushing the toilet?
Many people forget to check what’s in the toilet bowl after they flush. You must ensure that all the contents have been flushed out of your toilet. This will allow you to see if your toilet is clogged. Also, I remember my grandmother being able to diagnose a sick family member or friend just by looking at their number two! Another mistake people make is they don’t use their hands to clean their toilet. If you wear gloves, nothing will happen to your hands. Don’t be afraid to use them.
• How did you learn to clean your toilet?
Believe it or not, I learnt from watching TV adverts.
• What scares you most about toilets?
I am afraid to go to the toilet if the lid is closed. I keep the lid closed, flush and then lift the lid because I am afraid of what I will find. Oh, and never, ever, forget to wash your hands after you use the toilet.
• What other interesting ways do you use Domestos for?
I add a little when I am washing dishes and I add some to my washing machine when I am washing white clothes.
“Domestos is a much-loved brand that represents everyone’s right to a clean toilet . . . this Human Rights Day! This is more than a flush-in-the-pan issue, and far from toilet humour. Domestos is found in many homes and has for decades, been improving people’s lives, health and well-being,” concludes Borstlap.

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