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Peace prayer in Manenberg

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Imams and clerics from other faiths are hoping prayer will unite the Manenberg community to cope with  gang violence. Members from the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF) will be hosting an interfaith prayer for peace on Sunday, 15 June 2014. Manenberg is known for its notorious gang activity and poverty stricken community on the cape flats.

According to the project co-ordinator, Waheed Sookool, the main goal of the interfaith gathering is to acknowledge the trauma suffered by the Manenberg community due to the recent spate of gang violence.

“The WCRLF is a well-known organisation in the local communities of Cape Town. The organisation encourages a marginalised stand against any injustices toward people who are in difficulty,” Stookool explained.

The organisation, supported by the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the Anglican Church and most of the other denominations in Cape Town, has become a beacon of hope in a community where daily violence has become a scary reality.

Stookool said Manenberg is not the only community known for its violence and impoverished conditions. However, the community of Manenberg has a historic significance, dating back to the time of apartheid. Hundreds of coloureds were forcibly removed from areas such as the District Six and so, given alternative residence, resulting over populated areas on the cape flats.

“There had been an intense increase of gang related deaths in a specific area in Manenberg. Most of the murders happened in certain areas of Manenberg and so, followed an outcry from the people of Cape Town. Thereafter, we (WCRLF) were asked to keep up the ‘Safe Manenberg’ Campaign,” Stookool said.

Another goal of the interfaith meeting is to honour educators in Manenberg and commend them for the role they have played during the most difficult times in the community.

Students are often forced to stay home from school due to gang violence in the area.

In the midst of gang violence this year, the teachers and principals of Manenberg’s 14 schools united to form the Teachers Steering Committee, which demanded that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) provide better safety to protect their learners.”

Stookool further explained that the program included, Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels, Archbishop Stephen Brislin and others, all of whom will join in prayer for a safer year ahead for the people of Manenberg and the broader South Africa. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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