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Mr. President, I’m pleading with you to give us not just hope but to take real action because we marched in 2019; there have been many campaigns around GBV yet today Mr. President we lost another soul, an 8-year-old girl who lived two streets away from me, writes Danya Goosen
Dear Mr. President
To say that today is a sad day is pretty much an understatement.
I never thought that I would be writing a letter to my president to inform him of how hurt and unsafe I feel as a woman, a mother and a daughter.
Mr. President, life has always been hard for us growing up on the Cape Flats due to poverty, the poor education system and living in fear of persistent gangsterism, yet we grew accustomed to it.
It became our normal thus many of us rose above it all and built a decent life for ourselves and our families within the communities of the Cape Flats.
The sad reality is however that we will end up working a minimum wage job in order to put food on the table and keep the lights on. Many times, this will be a single mother working multiple jobs just to earn enough to feed her children.
That is our reality, Mr. President.
I am not sure if you are aware of the war the Cape Flats has endured since before my birth, this war is still happening in 2020 while politicians and bureaucrats seek to score political points.
Kids can’t play in the streets anymore without being gunned down by a stray bullet fired from a gun that most likely was supplied by a corrupt police official.
Babies are being raped; drug dealers walk school grounds like they belong there.
Young boys are being forced into taking guns to school like it’s a little toy car.
The elderly are being robbed and abused by their drug-addicted kids?
Every robot is a smash and grab hotspot because that’s how these young men some with a matric certificate think is the best way to make money, due to the high unemployment rate in South Africa.
If you, however, start your own little small business from home you don’t just pay tax towards the fiscus, but you are also "taxed" by local gangs for protection.
These gangs run rampant and stifle our ability to even run successful small businesses without fearing for our lives and those of our family.
The ranks of these gangs get re-filled every time no proper due diligence is done when prisoners are released on parole or your presidential prisoner remission.
Mr. President, the sound of gunshots ringing in the morning has become our alarm clocks.
I ask how has this become the norm?
Our kids grow up believing this is what life is.
I think it’s time we stop being concerned with the battle of Bloedrivier and pro-actively focus on the blood laden streets of the Cape Flats!
We applaud you for making a call and deploying the armed forces to assist the SAPS in restoring some sense of peace and order on the Flats.
Unfortunately, violence only begets violence Mr. President.
Drugs are still being pushed on the streets, young boys are still running around with stolen unlicensed guns, women and children are still being abducted, raped and ultimately killed.
Nothing is changing.
Mr. President, I’m pleading with you to give us not just hope but to take real action because we marched in 2019; there have been many campaigns around GBV yet today Mr. President we lost another soul, an eight-year-old girl who lived two streets away from me.
The man that raped and killed Jesse Hess was someone I grew up with.
Do you understand that I am afraid for myself, my daughter, my stay at home mom and every female living in South Africa?
I started an initiative with my partner where we give back to my community helping young mothers and new-born babies with all their basic hygiene necessities as well as victims of GBV.
This I do without any funding Mr. President and yes it is hard because I also don’t have much to give but I feel that we should all come together and help where we can as actions speak louder than words.
Just like you, Mr. President, we are also "freedom fighters" fighting not only for economic freedom but also so our kids can be freed from the unimaginable violence and social ills they must encounter every single day.
I pray this letter doesn’t get lost in all the red tape. Mr. President: the streets of the Cape Flats are bleeding.
- Danya Goosen is a resident of Elsies River in Cape Town
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