A long walk for peace

Every Thursday, together with the community, Sameeg Norodien holds prayers at various gang hot spots in Manenberg.

A Manenberg man is planning a walk for peace in the neighbourhood plagued by gang strife, and he wants others to join him.

Sameeg Norodien has planned a 5km walk through Manenberg for Sunday December 9, starting from Downeville Primary School.

He said gang violence had been under control for the past few months, and he hoped residents would join his walk to help keep it that way.

Hundreds of people attend the prayers he performs at various gang hot spots in Manenberg every Thursday.

“We have had no gang violence from April to October, and we plan on keeping it that way. We can’t sit in our houses and hope that it will get better. We need to make a change and take steps to making our area better,” he said.

Entry for the walk will be R10 a child and R20 an adult. The money would go towards making a pot of food to thank the marshals for their work on the day, said Mr Norodien.

“We need to uplift this area, and we want people to see the good in Manenberg.”

Mr Norodien hopes people will one day be able to walk in the street at night and that drugs and prostitution will be eradicated.

Unemployment and domestic violence drove many to join gangs, he said. And children joined because they had no role models, and their parents used drugs in front of them.

“The youth are being led by gang leaders, and they know that the children are vulnerable. They are looking at these gangsters as their role models,” he said.

He will host a mass Qur’an recitation in Manenberg Avenue, opposite “Beps”, on Sunday December 2, from 10am till 2pm.

Faeema Ismail has lived in Manenberg for more than 50 years. She moved there when she was 12. A lot had changed since then, but the area had still not been developed, she said.

“Our places are being degraded because of gangsterism. I am hopeful that these programmes will help and start getting things back to normal,” she said.

Gaironesa Norodien, another long-time resident, said children living with drug-addicted parents were worst affected by gangsterism.

“The children have nowhere to play. They need a holistic change because their households are the start of the problem. People who have made it also need to come back and do motivational talks for the youth,” she said.