Community activist needs help

Ricardo Sedres, 40, has been active in communities across Cape Town.

A former Hanover Park community worker and activist, who has dedicated his life to helping others, is now in desperate need of assistance after suffering several strokes.

Ricardo Sedres, 40, has been active in communities across Cape Town, being at the forefront of campaigns against gang violence, highlighting the plight of women and children and being the voice for backyard dwellers and for youth development.

On Saturday January 15, Mr Sedres had several strokes that left him partially paralysed and in severe pain. He was discharged from hospital a week later but was rushed back early in February. He suffered another stroke while in hospital which affected his speech and caused irreparable damage to his heart. He is now in a wheelchair.

Mr Sedres, his wife Lezal, 33, and their four children moved to Delft three years ago, but he still worked tirelessly for the Hanover Park community. People are still calling him daily to ask for his help.

His friend and fellow community worker, Clint Abrahams, started a fund-raising campaign to assist Mr Sedres with his medical bills, food and electricity.

“Ricardo has been active in the community since the age of 14,” said Mr Abrahams. “He has never once done anything for personal gain. I have known him since our youth, and he has always placed the needs of others first. Because of his long history of work in the community (for free), he does not have an income or medical aid.

“He has given the bulk of his adult life to ensuring people have running water, electricity, and adequate housing. He helped rebuild burnt-down shacks, provided food and clothes to destitute families. He helped provide school shoes and stationery to hundreds of children across Cape Town.

“It is now time for Cape Town to help Ricardo. I appeal to all who know him to donate generously to help cover medical expenses and to support the family. His family depends on him for everything.”

Ms Sedres said it had been tough on the family since her husband had taken ill.

“Our eldest is at school, then we have two at creche and our baby is one-year old. Ricardo is just a community person, but he took on too much. Before his last stroke, he was still sending emails to authorities on behalf of others. I had to give up my job. It is emotionally and financially tough on us now. Ricardo is my right hand, and our daily lives have become so challenging since he had the strokes.”

Mr Sedres is still in hospital, and according to Ms Sedres, he is waiting for a bed at Lentegeur Hospital to start his rehabilitation.

“He is paralysed on his right side, and his speech is affected. He is trying really hard, but his speech is not clear,” she said.

Mr Abrahams has started a BackaBuddy campaign, and if you can help in any way, contact him at 082 797 2639.