Bontas reclaim streets from the gangs

Keeping fit, living a healthy lifestyle, and reclaiming the streets are the aims of the Bonteheuwel Safe Play Streets event planned for Freedom Square in September.

Ward councillor Angus Mckenzie, who is organising it along with the provincial Department of Health, and the WesternCape On Wellness (WOW) initiative, said residents needed to make it clear that the streets of Bonteheuwel belonged to them and not gangsters.

The event, he said, would include soccer, skipping, games, and Zumba, and pull in local food vendors, traders, clubs and organisations. There would be fitness equipment to promote the “healthy living” message.

The community – long torn apart by gang strife – needed safe recreational spaces, Mr Mckenzie said: “For far too long, we have allowed a minority to keep the community hostage. The streets belong to the community and not to the gangsters. The more people who support the event the more we will make it clear that the streets belong to the people. We need to reclaim our spaces.”

Director of wellness for the provincial Health Department, Dr Frederick Marais, said play had many health benefits for children, and events of this sort gave Bonteheuwel a chance to beat crime and gangsterism.

“There is potential for this to have an impact on the area, people need to be connected and change can happen through play activity,” he said.

“Our ultimate vision is that various communities will be able to host these events as not all of them have access to parks or safe places to play and can make use of the streets.

“Each community is different and they will decide which activities are best for their area. We are really looking forward to this event.”