Drought-stricken farmers give back to family of slain Gift of the Givers volunteer

2018-10-15 20:59
Volunteer Amierodien Noordien, who was shot dead in gang crossfire earlier this month. Drought-stricken farmers he helped have since raised money for his family (Gift of the Givers)

Volunteer Amierodien Noordien, who was shot dead in gang crossfire earlier this month. Drought-stricken farmers he helped have since raised money for his family (Gift of the Givers)

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Despite a drought, which has left farmers in a dire financial position, some have raised around R15 000 to help the family of a volunteer who brought them life-giving fodder in their time of need, before he was shot dead earlier this month.

Amierodeen Noordien had worked for Gift of the Givers since January 2018, when the organisation began delivering water to drought-stricken areas of the Western Cape, and then later when it delivered animal feed to struggling farmers.

Just hours after returning home from a volunteer stint in the Eastern Cape, the 19-year-old was shot dead in gang crossfire in Hanover Park.

His alleged killers appeared in the Athlone Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Hester Obermeyer, drought relief coordinator for Gift of the Givers, was shocked when she heard the news of his death.

Still fresh in her mind were heartening memories of him and other young men offloading fodder for grateful farmers, many of them old, and most with tears in their eyes.

In Sutherland alone, sheep stock had dropped from 400 000 to 104 000 as a result of the drought, and businesses were closing across towns in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape because farmers could no longer afford to pay their accounts. 

"You are not supposed to have favourites, but he was one of my favourites. I put the notice onto all the fodder groups that we work with to say Amier was shot, please pray for his family. He was their only breadwinner," Obermeyer said on Monday.

She had already discussed fundraising with founder Imtiaz Sooliman when a farmer from Steytlerville contacted her to ask if they could donate money to Noordien's family.

"I shared the bank details and donations started pouring in... I thought - this is coming from farmers who have been involved in a drought for four years, it is absolutely amazing."

Farmers in fundraising drives

Obermeyer shared that one farmer in the Western Cape was struggling to pay off a bond of millions, but had donated R4 900.

In other towns, farmers who did not have the means to donate were holding fundraising drives.

She said the family did not yet know about the donations.

"That is the goodwill that has been spread by this project and nothing can ever replace that," said Obermeyer.

Two people who were charged with Noordien's death, one of them still a minor at 17, appeared in the juvenile court on Monday, where their case was postponed until November 15.

Noordien's father, Mogamat, said afterwards that he was relieved to hear the two would remain in custody. His wife was still in poor health.

Relatives, friends and community members were there to support him and held signs reading "No bail for Ameerodien killers". A boy held a sign saying "Change our justice system".

After Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Noordien's family, he announced that an anti-gang unit was up and running already in response to protests by communities caught up in gang wars.

Hanover Park residents gathered outside court said that there had been far fewer shootings since the anti-gang unit had been in the area.


Hanover Park residents outside Athlone Court for case of two men accused of killing Amierodien (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  cape town  |  crime

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