‘I will bury part of myself with my son’

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Copy of ca Abeedah Powell_7938 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Abeedah Powell comforts her mother, Rugaya, after her son Tasreeq was killed. Tasreeqs cousin, Yazeed Benjamin, 11, looks on. Picture: Jason Boud

Cape Town - Two teenagers were shot and killed in crossfire as gang warfare exploded on the Cape Flats on Wednesday.

They were Tasreeq Powell, 13, from Valhalla Park and Aziza Simba, 16, from Delft. Valhalla Park residents maintained on Wednesday’s flare-up was the most intense this year.

The Cape Argus called at Tasreeq’s home this morning to find a family “broken” by their loss. Tasreeq comes from a devout Muslim background and will be buried today.

Tasreeq’s father, Nazeem Benjamin, spoke to the Cape Argus about his loss. For him the interview, in a living room crowded with family and friends, was an opportunity to mourn the death of his only son.

He had returned from work at 3pm to the news that someone had been shot near his sister’s home. Arriving at Agnes Road, Nazeem found his son lying in a pool of blood on the pavement.

“He was still holding the R20 his auntie had given him,” said Nazeem.

“Perhaps he wanted to buy sweets at the shop next door. That detail is something I cannot get out of my mind. He was everything to me, and now a large part of my own life and being is dead. I will bury a part of myself along with my son today.”

Abeedah Powell, Tasreeq’s older sister, said her brother had had a natural enthusiasm for schoolwork, sport and his friends. But it was his care and compassion for those less fortunate than himself which set him apart.

“Often, he would bring his little friends who were from poor backgrounds into our home. Just for a slice of bread or something,” she said.

“He had a tremendously big heart.”

Wednesday was a day of extreme violence in Valhalla Park, especially on Agnes Road, which forms part of the border region between the Outlaw and Rude Boys gangs, Abeedah said.

“It pains our community, because these are kids who went to church and school together and now they are killing each other and innocent children,” said Rugaya Powell, Tasreeq’s mother.

“They are fighting wars on behalf of drug merchants and people in jail. They don’t even know why they are fighting… Maybe it is time for the army to be sent in to stop this.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed the two deaths. No one had been arrested at the time of publication.

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