Boeka protest to bring peace

Resident Siraj Mohamad said the community needs to unite.

The Bonteheuwel community held a mass iftaar last Friday and Saturday as a form of protest to bring an end to gang violence and crime in the area.

They believed this would be more impactful than the usual anti-crime march.

The iftaars were organised by the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies (BWL) together with the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) and the Bonteheuwel Muslim Society (BMS).

Soraya Salie, chairperson of the BWL, said the aim of the iftaar was to bring peace to the area and bring the community together.

“This is a complete different approach to the marches and protests that the community usually had which had left a negative feeling to the perpetrators because they were excluded.

“By doing this we are including them because I still believe that our Creator is the turner of hearts and we are inviting them to come and join us,” she said.

Ms Salie said after an anti-gangsterism march or protest there would be peace in the area for a week or two but the violence would continue thereafter.

“Peace begins with me. The community is all sitting back waiting for change to happen but it won’t happen unless we bring about the change. We all need to work towards that change, because the time for change has arrived,” she said.

Cleo Baartman, co-ordinator of the IPYG, said the idea is to bring about peace in a practical way and to encourage the youth to have a mindset of peace rather than become accustomed to a culture of violence and crime.

“This a very different way of approaching gang violence. The words that we use are very important, instead of saying we stand against gangsterism and creating a defence, we say we stand for peace and create a positive connotation.

“Something like this is healing for Bonteheuwel – whether it’s animosity between gangsters or community members, we are uniting the community,” she said.

Farouk Salie, chairperson of the BMS, said that peace needs to come about in the area because the children are the ones who suffer.

“If we as the adults and leaders don’t address these issues then what will happen to our children and to our future? We are trying a different initiative. Gangsterism is a problem for most of the areas on the Cape Flats and together we will find a solution,” he said.

Resident Siraj Mohamad, however, said that words with no action is pointless. He said that many people have an idea to stop gang violence but no one implements it and the idea becomes futile.

“We need to be outspoken about our own safety and do something about it because if we don’t we will end up corrupt with these people. We need to unite and stop this segregation and we need to do it as quickly as possible,” he said.