Heideveld holds memorial for the dead

Children release white balloons in memory of those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Heideveld Residents’ Association held a memorial on Sunday for all those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The association and its supporters moved through the area, holding 15-minute services and releasing white balloons at various points in the neighbourhood.

Members of a community group, Youth Inspired, dance at the memorial.

Faiekah Paulse, a member of the group, came up with the idea to hold the memorial as an outlet for people’s sorrow at a time when Covid-19 precautions heavily restrict funerals.

“I usually go through the janaaza (death) notices at night, and it just sat so heavy on my chest as to how many people died daily of Covid-19,” she said. “I just felt so emotional and told my fellow members that I wish we could have a vigil in remembrance of all those who died. I feel strongly that something like this should be done everywhere.

This virus left primary school children as orphans. The other sad part is that families cannot even give their loved ones proper send-offs.”

Vanessa Sauls-Nelson, the association’s chairwoman, said the memorial was for everyone who had died during the pandemic, not just those who had succumbed to Covid-19.

“We are here to acknowledge your pain,” she said. “We are all in mourning, honouring the lives lost in lockdown. One family lost their father, three sisters and their brother. No amount of words can comfort you, but, with this event, we want to show that we care for you.”

Many joined the memorial holding photographs of their loved-ones.

Leonard Sauls, Randall April and Vanessa Sauls-Nelson, hold pictures of some of those who have died during the pandemic.

The association printed collages of pictures of those who had died, and one resident, Shamila Adams, held a banner with pictures of her brother-in-law, Rafik Moos, 30, who was shot and killed a month ago.

“I think this is something good,” she said. “Events like these help a little bit with our healing – just the thought that people care.”

Shamila Adams honoured her late brother-in-law, Rafik Moos, 30, with this banner.

Marie Oliver agreed, saying she had had to bury her 45-year-old son – who died last year – under difficult circumstances because of the Covid-19 regulations.