Locals to hold night vigil

2018-04-24 06:00
Sasha-Lee November (6) went missing from her community in May 2015.

Sasha-Lee November (6) went missing from her community in May 2015.

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Local non-profit organisation, Women2Women (W2W), will host a night vigil in remembrance of all missing people on Friday 4 May. The special gathering will take place in the Hanover Park community and is specifically in honour of six-year-old Sasha-Lee November who mysteriously went missing while playing outside her Groenal Walk home on 3 May 2015.

Yaseen Johaar, spokesperson for W2W, says the group will address the community as a reminder of a sad tragedy that still lingers on, and will focus on topics that are fundamental and instrumental and which transcend in the revolution around missing persons and human trafficking.

“Three years ago, as W2W took flight, we were asked to lead the search party looking for Sasha-Lee, with the assistance of the community. We had day and night searches that lasted almost three months. Unfortunately, to date, she has never been found,” says Johaar­.

The night vigil is hosted annually on the day November went missing, but in order to accommodate the Muslim community this year, W2W will host the event on the Friday evening, 4 May, and not the Thursday evening­.

“Since she went missing, we have hosted this event each year in her honour. This is a time for the community to heal with regard to all missing persons in our country and around the world. We believe awareness is the key to wanting to eradicate an illness infested in the community.”

Confirmed guest speakers who unselfishly avail themselves every year for the event include Colonel Desmond Laing from Philippi Police Station, Nana Rechné from the Pink Ladies and Charnel Hector, a teacher at the school Sasha-Lee once attended, among others­.

“This year we would like to add to the panel the lead detective in the Sasha-Lee case, as well as Claudia Burger of ANEX, a human trafficking prevention organisation. A song, dance and other spoken words will also be rendered, as a dedication to all missing persons­.”

“We have extended invitations to imams, pastors, the councillor, the community policing forum and other influential personalities in our community.”

The Women2Women Sasha-Lee Search and Rescue (W2WSAR) will also be launched on the same evening.

“Our aim is to create a platform of assistance to the community around missing persons, as well as raise awareness and mobilise a tactical search party operation, hand in hand with the police. We also stand as the ambassador when the Missing Persons Act fails to be executed for those in need.

“These tasks have always been mandated since 2015, with more than 10 persons going missing and successfully being found, other than-Shasha Lee who has never been found, among others.”

Johaar says although special focus is put on Hanover Park, Newfield, Panati Estate and the Mountview community, W2W is ready to assist the neighbouring areas such as Lansdowne, Manenberg and Philippi, and to serve as extra hands wherever the need arises throughout the Western Cape with regard to missing persons.

“Herewith, we are calling out for responsive resources, mandates and protocols in and around situations like these, for accountability, and importantly for us as a society to improve and take responsibility. We are truly saddened that Sasha-Lee has not been found, but her disappearance has never gone in vain,” adds Johaar.

The programme is set to kick off at 18:30 sharp and will take place in Groenal Walk, Hanover Park.V For more information, call Yaseen Johaar on 084 972 8405.

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