Women celebrate community bond

2020-01-14 06:00
Residents who were forcibly removed from District Six to Manenberg Avenue in Manenberg celebrated more than 50 years of community.

Residents who were forcibly removed from District Six to Manenberg Avenue in Manenberg celebrated more than 50 years of community.

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Women who were part of the first residents to move into Manenberg Avenue in Manenberg came together last month to celebrate their decades-long bond.

It was 52 years ago that families were forcibly removed from District Six, when the area was declared a whites only as part of the Group Areas Act, to the Cape Flats. Everything was taken from them and all they had was each other; and so emerged a community of families that looked out for one another.

Fondly remembering the stories from their childhood, these original inhabitants of Manenberg Avenue got together and decided it was time to honour the source of their bond that has lasted over 50 years.

“They quickly started a WhatsApp group, where they decided to call themselves #TheOriginals, and they have the t-shirts to prove it. The women decided to host a reunion, on Saturday 7 December at one of the many houses they all called home,” says Ashley-William van Heerden, a resident from Manenberg.

“At the reunion the women were bursting with pride at how long their bond lasted. A heavy heap of nostalgia was first on the menu, as they hung up photos of their childhood in District Six and in Manenberg Avenue, family members that passed on and images of an era gone by,” he says.

This was followed by a moment of silence to pay respect to the original inhabitants who have since died. They also hosted a special lunch to honour the most senior #Originals, who laid the foundations for the strong bond between original families.

The honour did not stop there, as they also recognised the future generation, and offered spoils to the children who now live in Manenberg Avenue.

According to Van Heerden, Manenberg has changed since the families first moved there, but the women’s appetite for fun has not.

“Quenching this appetite was an assortment of childhood games. From Kennetjie to five stones, they spent hours letting loose and giving in to their inner child. So much so, that they even had time to go back to Sunday school. They lined up along Manenberg Avenue and sang their hearts out, remembering all the lyrics from their Sunday School hymns. Onlookers were not disappointed, and the singing attracted cheers and hooting from cars passing by,” Van Heerden says.

The fun and games did not stop there, as #TheOriginals enjoyed a feast that included samosas, koeksisters, and frikkadels, to the sound of music that has kept them dancing for decades. They remembered, honoured, celebrated, ate, and danced.

This was exactly the purpose of their first reunion, says the local – to showcase the power of community, and highlight the positives of a Manenberg that people often only speak negatively about.


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