Sporting connection

The Guardians of the National Treasure, a non-profit organisation in Lavender Hill, are living up to their motto “Let us evoke the seed of goodness”.

Through their work in the community, goodness is beginning to show off in Lavender Hill. In just a few months an open field in Blode Street, which was known as “a battlefield” because of gang wars, is slowing turning into a place where community members connect. Different sporting activities, like soccer and netball, are taking place on the field. The open field had been used for sporting activities before, but over time gangs took over the field to fight. However, residents never stopped believing that the field would be turned around again or that sport was the answer (“Sport against crime”, People’s Post, 9 August 2016).

Ralph Bouwers of the Guardians of the National Treasure is slowing turning things around. There is a sporting activity on the field every weekend. “It is just amazing to see people come together. In the last few years people allowed gang fights to disconnect them. Families haven’t seen each other because of the shootings and killings. Peers have become enemies because of the fights over territories. However, all that is changing. By coming together friendships are being formed and people can easily talk to each other because the games make it easy to start a conversation. This has created harmony and connection and people realise that we are one and there is no need to fight each other,” says Bouwers.

People visit the field every weekend to cheer on the teams playing.

Bouwers says it is still a long road ahead.

“We have to get to the bottom of things. Giving food will not help us. We have to come with a sustainable solution. Our children are hungry, they need counselling. Yes, sports might be changing things, but a lot needs to be done. “My appeal is for everyone to come together and help where we can. There is need for food, sporting gear and transport, among other things,” he says.

Bouwers says the children are really enjoying the transformation in their suburb.

“There is a lot of talent in the area, let us not allow gang violence to rob us of all the goodness inside,” he says.

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