Gangsterism has once again reared its ugly head in the form of violence that has led to blood being spilled and lives being lost.
While many of us are fortunate to be outsiders – looking on as an audience who cannot fathom how this lawlessness has continued unabated for so many years – there are those who are caught in the crossfire.
Growing up in the ’90s, I briefly attended a nursery school in the Coronationville/Wesbury area because it was close to my father’s workplace.
But, over the years, as the scourge of gangsterism grew – it become unsafe. My dad’s workplace shifted and so did my school. I haven’t set foot there since.
As I ventured into the life of activism, I dabbled in social services for a nonprofit organisation (NPO) in the Eldorado Park area – much to my father’s worry.
The hours were long and the area was synonymous with drugs, gangsterism and violence, but there I was, right in the thick of things.
One thing I realised at the end of my tenure at the NPO was that this was a township that needed proper policing and social intervention to enable members of the community and those that visit the area feel safe again.
We have seen the bloodshed in the Western Cape; watched helpless mothers begging government for a helping hand in effective policing that would allow for some normality to everyday life.
Sadly, we have come to accept that this is how life on the Cape Flats will always be. But this is what we should reject. While civil society may not have the power to take on the underworld that fuels this life of murder, drugs and prostitution, there are those in communities that can change the landscape.
We know the criminals in our communities and we know the police who turn a blind eye. We remain silent and allow the safety and pleasure in our community to be eroded daily.
Our sense of community should inspire us to weed out the gangsterism that has such a suffocating grip on so many areas in South Africa.
It’s time to speak up!