Sport against crime

2016-08-09 06:00
Lavender Hill residents believe this field can be utilised for sports and it will help decrease crime in the area . PHOTO: tiyese jeranji

Lavender Hill residents believe this field can be utilised for sports and it will help decrease crime in the area . PHOTO: tiyese jeranji

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Lavender Hill has been tainted by gang wars for the last few years, forcing an outcry for help.

Though it seems gangs and crime are out of control in the area, there are people that reminisce about a nice area that they once lived in.

They also believe if there are a lot of activities for the youth, it could solve some of their problems.

Henry Naudé, a community activist, says he strongly believes a statement that he heard from Steve Tshwete in 1994 can still save Lavender Hill – even today.

“Tshwete said ‘a child in sport is a child out of court’. Occupy a child with sports and they will never be in court. This is what we need in this area.

“If we have sports facilities, we wouldn’t be dealing with some of the problems that we have now. Our children have nothing to do. They don’t have a place to play and keep them occupied – that’s why most of them are in and out of court,” he says.

They once had a sports field were people would meet every Sunday after church to watch a game of soccer or netball, but it is alleged that four years ago they were told by their ward councillor to stop using it as it became a battle field for gang wars.

“There was no such thing. The councillor and the proportional representative councillor just decided they didn’t want people to use that space.”

Naudé says that’s when things started to change and rime started to spiral out of control

“They put big rocks in the middle of the field making it impossible for our kids to train there. There was nothing to look forward to and nothing to do.

“Although there were gangs at the time, there wasn’t fighting or shooting. It was only two gangs at the time. Now it’s like there is a gang around every corner.

“Our children are killing each other in cold blood. They are also killing innocent people. I still believe that a sports field will help us a lot,” he says.

Asma Abrahams (76) who has been in the area for over four decades says things have changed a lot. “Lavender Hill was not like this. It was a close-knit community full of kind people. We looked out for one another, but over the years that fabric begun to tear. Crime went out of control.

“When our kids used to play soccer it was really nice. Everyone looked forward to the game. We would cook and pack food to go eat whilst we watch our kids play. There were also cake sales just to keep the mood up.

“Our kids need that again, they must be given a field to play. It has become a gang war zone because it is not used for what it should be used for,” she says.

Another resident, Ragmat Petersen (68) says it’s unfair that their grand children have no place to play freely.

“We really want a field so that our children can utilise it. They have nothing to look forward to – no sports, no work – nothing.

“For them to excel in sports they have to move out of the area to other areas where there are facilities, but a lot of parents can’t afford that. As a result our kids are trapped in this area and end up joining gangs,” says Petersen.

After children were told they couldn’t use the field anymore, they were apparently told to go to the Seawinds multi-purpose centre.

Petersen however feel it’s too far for their children to travel, and too expensive. “The centre manager and the councillor for that area were (also) charging kids to get in there. As a result our children saw no need of going there as it was expensive. Over the years that place has also been run down and vandalised. Our children mustn’t walk far just to do sport

“We don’t have enough facilities, and that must be addressed.”

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