The Cape Flats Women’s Alumni has vowed to eradicate gender violence and other social ills in the community.
Late last month, women from Hanover Park, Manenberg, Heideveld, Delft, Eerste River, Mitchell’s Plain, Mfuleni, Philippi and Khayelitsha – some of the toughest, most poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in the city – were honoured at the alumni gala and exhibition, held by the Manenberg Safety Forum, in Salt River.
Roegchanda Pascoe, chairwoman of the Manenberg Safety Forum, said they were working to change people’s perceptions of the Cape Flats. Its reputation for gangsterism and gender violence overshadowed the efforts of community builders and the extraordinary women who defied the odds and, with little or no money, worked to make their communities better places to live.
Sixteen women were nominated at last month’s event to represent different areas on the Cape Flats and to work on various social ills.
The women will create healing circles within their communities to support and heal women who have experienced trauma in their lives.
They will also develop projects to uplift their communities.
Kashiefa Mohammed was nominated to represent Hanover Park, Soraya Sampson, Manenberg, and Vanessa Adriaanse, Heideveld.
On Thursday December 3, the group took to the streets to chat to community leaders, parents, and youth about ending gender violence, gangsterism and crime.
Ms Pascoe said it was important for parents to realise that they needed to report their children to the police if they committed a crime.
“The parents understood what we said and asked for help. They just need someone to hold their hands and walk these steps with them. They are afraid and alone. They understood that covering up for their children will do no good,” she said.
Ms Pascoe said they wanted justice for women and children who had lost their lives to violence.
The community needed to stand up for itself with or without the support from government.
“We will work from the bottom up, and we will make a change in this country. A lot of these women have already done great work in their communities and have received no recognition for it. They have worked diligently to ensure that their women and children are protected. Our mission is to raise the status of each woman and save our country.”
Ms Mohamed has been a community activist for over 20 years and has served on the neighbourhood watch.
“In Hanover Park, we deal with gender-based violence on a daily basis. We make sure that victims are helped and that the police are held accountable for inefficiencies on their side because many of them fail our women. I will host the healing circle once a month in my community,” she said.
Ms Adriaanse is the founder of Mothers For Justice and has been working in the community for 29 years.
“Next week we will be facilitating a peace meeting within our community to ask the gangs for peace for the festive season as the shooting has escalated over the past couple of months,” she said.
“We know these people, and we know what our community needs. Poverty has a huge impact on this and we are hoping to approach this holistically.”