We're 'dik vir tik' say Eldos residents

2015-09-24 07:34
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Johannesburg - "Ons is dik vir Tik!" chanted a small group of Eldorado Park residents who decided to kick start heritage day celebrations with a call to stop drug abuse and violence against women and children.

The shouts which translate to "we are sick of meth" were in contrast to last minute preparations of organic chop bastings or gluten free braai pies by some ahead of Heritage Day on Thursday.

Instead, the group was sick of the drama, tragedy and upheaval that drugs brought to their community, and wanted to go back to a heritage of caring about neighbours, and not worrying about grannies being choked for money by addicted grandchildren.

Cheryl Naidoo, of Eldorado Park Local Drug Action Committee, said they were marching the day before Heritage Day not just to mark the 59th year of the anti-pass march of about 20 000 women to the Union Buildings, but also because they wanted to rid the community of anti-social behaviour and drugs.

As the group walked through the streets, led by a group of drummers, people came out of their houses, old men sat on cushions placed on rocks, young men arranged car bumpers and parts for sale on their verges, leading many in the march to mutter, "Why don't they come and join us? Why do they not care?"

The march ended at the suburb's stadium where various women addressed the crowd, demanding action.

Naidoo handed a memorandum to a representative of the department of social development and indicated the establishment of a women's forum in the area.

The demands in the memorandum included criminal charges against parents who do not take their children to school, parents must be charged with neglect if they abuse their social security grants, harsher sentences for drug peddlers, increased visible policing and no loud street parties.

Leonie van der Merwe, director for gender, youth and disability in the Gauteng department of social development, did not mince her words.

She said it was unacceptable that parents did not call their children out when they did something wrong, and spoke strongly against the abuse of women - most of whom were breadwinners and single mothers in the community.

"Abuse is not just hitting or kicking a woman, it is also swearing [at a] woman ..."

Instead of relying only on the government to improve their lives, she implored people to report criminals, even if the criminals were close to them.

Parents needed to know where their children were and who they were with, she said.

Meredith Jones, one of the women at the event, told News24, "We need to go back to basics through the culture and heritage that grounded us."

The determination to use the occasion to improve the community did not deter many of the marchers from wearing their cultural finery as a nod to Heritage Day.

Social worker Brenda Maluleke swished the hundreds of embelished folds in the skirt of her Xibelani saying, "I am proudly Shangaan. We must not forget where we came from just because we live in the city now."

Debra Mlondeni wore a Zulu-beaded skirt and T-shirt saying she was doing so in honour of her great grandmother, who was Zulu.

"It's my heart, my roots," she said. Another woman Marjorie Nicolson wore a bright pink pinafore made of Shangaan print.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  narcotics

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