Visiting and taking photographs with Father Christmas and his elves are a bit different this year, with families having to wave from a distance instead of getting to sit on Santa’s lap. Pictured is little Ella, 2, at GrandWest. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Visiting and taking photographs with Father Christmas and his elves are a bit different this year, with families having to wave from a distance instead of getting to sit on Santa’s lap. Pictured is little Ella, 2, at GrandWest. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Festive cheer comes early for Manenberg youngsters

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Dec 24, 2020

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Cape Town - Christmas came early for about 300 Manenberg children who did not have smart clothes to wear on Friday, when Marilyn Jones decided to buy clothes and party packets and to book an ice-cream van with money she received on her birthday last week.

On Wednesday Elbe Street was packed with excited children who queued for the goodies outside Jones’s home.

With the assistance of other parents, they made sure Covid-19 regulations were adhered to.

“When my friends called wanting to know what the plans were for my birthday and what they could contribute, I remembered that this week is Christmas and not all children are fortunate to eat nice treats or even wear new clothes.

“Manenberg is an impoverished community with a high level of unemployment, gangsterism and drugs. When Covid-19 arose the situation got worse. Children as young as 5 would come knocking on my door and offer to clean the house and yard in exchange for money or food.

“Some go around asking for bottles so they can go to the shops and exchange them for money.

“This really hurt me so I wanted to do something special for them,” said Jones.

Jones catered for about 250 children, but the number grew in the day.

“Parents assisted to sanitize the children and we had a no mask no goodies rule

“We managed to buy Christmas clothes for children from three families. So on Friday they will also look beautiful.

“My friends and residents from neighbouring communities also donated school shoes and other items to children.

“These children are used to trauma, so holidays like Christmas mean a lot to them. Seeing them happy just melts my heart. If I could do more I would,” she said.

One of the children, 13-year-old Malika, said she loved the party pack she was given and got to eat her favourite vanilla ice cream.

Azraa, 11, who went to Jones’s home with her 6-year-old brother, said she wished more people could be kind like Jones.

A parent, Salwaa Thomas, said: “Children are used to bad things like hearing gun shots, so initiatives like this mean a lot to them and us as parents. They get to enjoy and forget about all of those other things. This must not only happen on festive days but all the time.”

If you would like to get in touch with Jones, contact her at 078 323 4726.

[email protected]

Cape Times

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