As South Africans mark the end of Youth Month, Bonteheuwel community members are mobilizing for a peace march on Saturday to call to attention the safety of children. Residents want high level intervention from authorities amid the ongoing drug and gang scourge in the area. The event is organized by the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum in partnership with The Justice Desk and a host of other organisations.
The march themed “it takes a village” will be led by children asking for peace, recognition of their basic human rights and call for high level intervention from authorities.
“Children and youth on the Cape Flats are living in fear and absolute despair due to uncontrolled gang violence. We are being terrorized and held hostage by unscrupulous gangsters in the area, with shooting incidents day and night. Children are not allowed in parks or on the streets to play. Children are not allowed to be carefree or free,” said the organisers,
“Our children with mothers and grandmothers have to run and hide from bullets raining down at us. With anger we read daily wary questions and comments from residents to our Official Bonteheuwel Group Facebook page of are “why are they shooting now when kids are leaving school”; “which side are they shooting, my mom is collecting my kids”; “Is it safe to come home from work”; and “they’re robbing the taxi’s – be careful”. And the authorities tell us there are no resources?”
On Tuesday 20 June an elderly woman was caught in cross fire between rival gangs in Rooihout Street. Her leg was shattered and she was admitted to hospital. The weekend past, young Jethro Fritz from Mitchells Plain was killed in a botched hijacking in Nyanga.
“Authorities tell us that the community must step up. The Bonteheuwel community is doing what it must. You just have to look at the work and initiatives by the Joint Peace Forum, Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies, The Jazz Yard Academy, the Ashley Kriel Skills Foundation, Bonteheuwel Ratepayers & Tenants Association, 3rd Bonteheuwel Scouts, Labon Foundation, City Care Angels, wonderful Church & Mosque initiatives, to name a few. We are not sitting idly waiting on authorities. But we can only do so much with the resources at hand. The children of Bonteheuwel and the broader CapeFlats are saying “enough is enough”.”
To enforce this message our children youth and community at large will take to the streets on June 30th, at 10am, proclaiming it takes a village to raise a child. The organisers have called on all peace loving organs and partners in Bonteheuwel and the broader Cape Flats to support the event.