LETTER: Gugulethu, the legacy of the past, the present and the GDF

2016-06-30 06:00

AT one stage, Gugulethu was known as Nyanga West.

Established in 1959 by the National Party government, whose election victory in 1948 began shaping a new society for black South Africans.

The third oldest African township in the Western Cape after Nyanga East(1943) and Langa(1927), ,Gugulethu, the least developed, has a large population of undocumented criminal gangs of foreign nationals who have dishonoured the local South African population by dealing in drugs, counterfeit CDs, stolen goods and child prostitution.

On the other hand, the Group Areas axe, which fell on about 60 000 mixed communities of District Six, of which 31 000 were Khoi-San communities, 21 000 Africans and 7 000 were made up of Indians, Jews, Muslims and Europeans, after the racist regime declared the District a white area under the 1950 Group Areas Act.

Despite a chorus of international outrage, the Group Areas remained in place for more than 25 years, during which time at least 4,5 million people were the victims of forced removals.

Coloured communities were separated from Africans, who were the screened according to Section 10.

In 1966, the year of the FIFA soccer world cup in England, which saw the soul of the Mother City being gutted by demolition as one house after another was razed to the ground.

My mother and late father and their five siblings were forcefully relocated from 65 William Street in D6 to temporary zinc and iron dwellings on the corner of Ny5 and Ny6 Gugulethu, while other families were relocated to Bonteheuwel, Hanover Park, Heideveld, Langa, Manenberg, Nyanga East, Mitchells Plain and Rylands.

In no time, Gugulethu was established as a solution to the growing black population that were made up of not only Xhosa speakers, but also Afrikaans, English, Shangaan, Sotho, Tswana and isiZulu.

The Gugulethu of old is no more.

Once the darling of black business, economic development, drama, entertainment, jazz, mbaqanga, sport, peace, love and harmony.

Poverty and inequality remains part of Gugulethu’s major challenges facing today’s communities, which also faces a growing population of inhabitants from the the former Ciskei and TRanskei.

Also a great truth about South Africa’s 22 year old democracy was that it has deep patterns of inequality and animosity between foreigners, black and coloured Capetonians and those from the Eastern Cape.

A member of the Gugulethu Development Forum(GDF) interim committee, whose elective conference will take place on Saturday, August 13 2016, the month when Gugulethu turns 60, reserve judgement until such time when the GDF is functional.

I hope also that the GDF will not be run by incompetent individuals, who are self centred and only interested in their own wellbeing, which is the norm today, instead of the people of Gugulethu.

I have also the distinct feeling that one cannot prove something that does not exist.

But whoever is going to be elected to run the GDF must be university graduates with good general management, human, financial, physical as well as basic thinking skills, and must be over 35.

You cannot run an organisation without good skills especially if corruption is the order of the day.

Pascal Mosia GugulethuGUGULETHU

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