As South Africans celebrate their hard-earned freedom on Freedom Day on Friday, there is no real sense of freedom for residents of Manenberg. So says Roegshanda Pascoe of the Manenberg Safety Forum, as the community prepares to hold an event to honour mothers who have lost their children to gang war fare and survivors of gang violence. Pascoe says gang violence has trapped residents in their homes and families have no sense of dignity with a low quality of life.
“Freedom has never had great meaning for us as we don’t know what real freedom is. We are like prisoners locked up in our homes because of the violence that is perpetrated across the Cape Flats,” said Pascoe.
The Freedom Day event is a collaboration between different religious groups and organisations working in the community. The event will take place at the NG Church on the corner of Manenberg Laan and Downs Avenue on Friday evening at 6pm. Residents will have a procession from Audrey Court to the church, where the Human Rights Commission and local activists will address the community.
The Forum held a similar event last year where residents marched to Cape Town to hand over a memorandum of demands to the national police ministry. Pascoe said they only received a response months after the protest and then met with a ministry official.
“We are calling for a class action from the people of the Cape Flats against the State. Clearly, the state is reluctant and there is no political will to address gang crime. They [government] are more reactive and we want preventative measures in place.” VOC