Visiting wounds of gang violence

2019-04-23 06:00

Emotions ran high at a meeting where community members had the opportunity to vent about the ongoing criminal activities by gangsters at Seawinds Multi Purpose Hall on Saturday 13 April.

The Community Reconciliation and Peace dialogue was aimed at giving the community an opportunity to families who lost love ones as result of gang violence to meet and speak about their journey since their loss.

Alcardo Andrews Foundation (AFF), a non-government organisation (NGO), based in Hanover Park, was also present at the gathering.

Avril Andrews, who heads the foundation, says they deal with a lot of community issues.

Her foundation was invited because the majority of the people who work for the foundation have had encounters with gang-related violence.

They were willing to share their stories with the residents of communities such as Lavender Hill, Seawinds, Cafda and Hillview as a form of emotional support.

Andrews felt that the community members who were in attendance were not ready to face the perpetrators yet because of the emotional state they were in during the engagements.

“My wish is for such mediations to be ongoing. I wish more and more of them could be held and that it would help the community to deal with the issue,” she expressed.

She also stated how proud and impressed she was of the community members, even in the vulnerable state they were in.

“They said they were not scared of gangsters and that they will take a stand against them,” she said.

Without going deeper into the content of what they said, Lesley Wyngaard who also works with the foundation was also in attendance.

She said that one of the gospels she preaches was that of never feeling sorry for yourself.

“You need to change the negative into a positive,” she encouraged.

She also congratulated the organisers of the dialogues, saying they have taken a good route to bringing a solution to the situation at hand.

“I think bringing the perpetrators of gang-related crimes to face members of the community is a step in the right direction. It offers some sort of reconciliation but it should not be sped up,” said Wyngaard who also lost her son to a gang-related killing.

She added that even though this is a good attempt, families need to be allowed to be ready.

Some will be willing to forgive and some will not, she said.

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