From the news desk

Breaking neighbour barriers

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The Rylands-Gatesville Civic Association (RGCA) initiated an environment for residents of the area to engage in social activity in the ‘Know Your Neighbour – Know Your Health’ Civic Fun Walk.  Chairperson of RGCA, Sataar Parker says that the primary objective of the event was to bring communities together and the turnout exceeded their expectations, with over 500 people of various demographic groups partaking in the walk.

The event comprised of a 2.5km and 5km fun walk, a Nappy Dash for the younger residents and a variety of food stalls.  The funds will be going towards setting up a proper office with an administrator, rent and towards legal fees to address various matters in the area.

Young children participate in the nappie dash [Credit: Facebook]
Young children participate in the nappie dash
[Credit: Facebook]
Chairperson of the Robert Waterwitch Branch, ward 46, Majiet Mowzer has been a resident of the area for more than 40 years and is also a member of the civic association.  He said the event is a great initiative to bring families together and a portion of the funds raised will be used to aid the educational programme of the civic association, which was reformed only one year ago. Mowzer said crime is the biggest challenge in the area.

“One of the problems with crime in the area is that everybody secures their homes but they aren’t aware of what’s happening on the streets. If you don’t control your streets, you will not be able to fight crime,” he stated.

He also said that the Community Police Forum (CPF) must play its part in educating the people of the area to be more vigilant.

Runners getting ready to dash
Runners getting ready to dash

Community worker, Fatima Allie says said the event not only addresses the social aspects of the area, but it also encourages the community to be healthy.  Allie is not from the area, but has played an active role in ensuring the success of the event and she vows to take the narrative of the event to her area of residence, Ravensmead.

“I come from a community where we’re always sharing, always giving… and my mommy always told us, if there’s one thing you can do, is to give back to your community, so this is my way of giving back to the community,” she said.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Fatima Chohan, attended the fun walk and gave more insight on the community at large.

“Before the local elections, we were doing door-to-door visits and I kid you not, the streets in this area were deserted on a Saturday afternoon. Just to get people to open the door is a problem, because there are no door bells at the gates,” she said.

The crowds enjoying the medal hand over ceremony
The crowds enjoying the medal hand over ceremony

Chohan said it is the mind-set of being isolated in this community that this event aimed to address.   She described the atmosphere of the event as a ‘developing community spirit’.

She continues to express her satisfaction with the Kromboom Park, which the ANC has rehabilitated in the area by involving the neighbours in playing an active role in maintaining the condition of the renewed park, which was formerly a hot-spot for drug addicts.

Vice Chair of RGCA, Dr Ali Hamdulay, commented on the health benefits of hosting a community event of this nature, at the increase of communicable diseases.

“I think it’s important that we know of the risk factors, especially in this area we find that most people residing here are of the elderly generation.  So this area consists if a community susceptible to diabetes, hypertension and cancer. So for that reason, it is important that we focus on community health in this particular area,” he affirmed.    VOC (Ra-ees Moerat)

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