Ocean View was established in 1968 as a township for coloured people who had been forcibly removed from so-called ‘white areas’ by the apartheid government under the Group Areas Act. Ocean View is home to a tight-knit community that has been rocked by sporadic incidents of gang violence. But with the introduction of the COVID-19 lockdown, residents claimed that crime has decreased.
Resident Paul Franke explained that a sense of unity has been restored among residents.
“Since the onset of the lockdown a definite harmony can be seen among neighbors, we all have one goal, one vision and that is to make sure that each and every person is fed on a daily basis,” stated Franke.
A member of the Ocean View Community Action Network (CAN), Ramona Lamb said the group in connection with the Nurul Islam mosque have fed over 5000 people since the commencement of the national lockdown.
“We have mapped out the entire Ocean View, where we are trying to sustain 45 soup kitchens, daily. We found that soup kitchens are better that distributing food parcels as there is no guarantee that every household will receive a parcel, where as with a soup kitchen we can ensure that every person is fed,” said Lamb.
“We hope we can reach out to more families because there really are people that are in need of assistance,” stated Lamb.
A member of the Emergency Voluntary Services (EVS) who deliver food to the sick and elderly, Tounique Andrews explained that everything that is done, is done with the permission of God and out of love for her brethren.
“For us it’s important to see the community flourish. We want to change the dynamic people have of Ocean View. As the youth we need to remind outsiders that we do have goals, dreams and ambitions of our own. Not all of us are gangsters, thugs and murderers,” said Andrews.
“It’s important for me to make sure that people aren’t struggling because I can see that urgency. I experience it first hand and it is as real as ever,” stated Andrews.
However, Franke questioned how long that harmony would last.
“We might see a shift in energy if the lockdown continues because people are growing despondent, they are running out of money, they don’t have access to cigarettes and they are in each other’s faces 24/7. If the government doesn’t offer us the necessary support, they can expect the worst,” said Franke.
A fisherman from the town, Rodger Addonis said the lockdown has made providing for his family a living nightmare.
“The lockdown is affecting our business negatively but we are fortunate to still be able to work and accumulate an income for our families. We are men, we cannot sit at home at wait for better days. It is our duty to go out and provide,” said Addonis.
A community member and unemployed business owner, Rashid Davids claimed that the entrepreneurs have fallen through the cracks of the system.
“There are builders, waiters, all sorts of people that have made an effort to secure a job and now they are out of work but do not qualify for a social grant because they don’t meet the requirements. We see wealthy men standing in the queue for food for their families and they have had their pride striped from them. It is a sad sight to see,” detailed Davids.