‘We should be ashamed ...’

2019-08-06 06:00
Attendees as far as Strand made their way to the event. They say they want to be heard and not just seen. PHOTO: siphesihle notwabaza

Attendees as far as Strand made their way to the event. They say they want to be heard and not just seen. PHOTO: siphesihle notwabaza

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“When is this going to end?” This was a common question as various community organisations gathered at the Cape of Good Hope Castle, in Cape Town, on Thursday 1 August, to remember all the lives that have been lost as a result of gang violence in the province.

The emotionally-charged event was organised by The Alcardo Andrews Foundation, a Hanover Park based non-governmental organisation (NGO). The organisation runs a range of community activities including a daily soup kitchen. They also have a skills centre and a component called Moms Move for Justice (MMJ).

MMJ, which is also part of the foundation, was started in 2015 after the foundation’s founder, Avril Andrews lost her son in an act gang violence.

Through MMJ the foundation assists and supports parents who suffered the same fate.

Thursday’s cold weather could not deter their spirits.

Participants waved banners and placards with messages such as: “protect our children”, “enough is enough” and “justice for my child”, as they made their way through the streets of Cape Town to the Castle.

The event was opened with a prayer by faith leaders and despite the rain, a candle was lit in memory of the deceased.

Speakers took turns sharing the podium, demanding answers to the scourge of violence that has gripped the community. “What Have We Done?/Senzeni Na?” chanted some residents and speakers.

In an interview with People’s Post, Andrews said the event was not just about gang-related murders but was also about speaking openly against crime in various communities in the province. It was also about addressing injustices suffered by women. “We are supposed to be celebrating Women’s Month but we cannot because we are here. We have to do this, we cannot just move on and forget about what happened. Mothers need justice for their sons and daughters who were killed,” expressed Andrews.

According to her, the event sought to bring families together and provide comfort.

Lucinda Evans, Mitchell’s Plain community activist, called on community organisations and residents to take a stand against crime and protect women.

She said the country is nowhere near to conquering violence against women and children. “We should be ashamed of ourselves (as adults) if young boys are the ones advocating for an end of violence, and that a small boy like this (Levi Andrews) asks the question ‘when is the killing going to stop?’,” she exclaimed.

Levi (9) from Hanover Park earlier took part in the candle-lighting ceremony. He told the crowd it was too much for him to deal will all the violence and crime in the communities.

Evans emphasised the need for the rights of women to be taken seriously. “We are not taking the plight of women seriously.”

Evans reckons if no immediate action is taken, the situation will only get worse. She said children do not only carry the physical scars but life-long scars as the violence affects them psychologically.

That, she said, will “mess up” the children as they grow into adults.

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