Cape Town. 150616. On the Rock Girls bus Chrisna Plaatjies from Bredasdorp speaks to Lee-Ann Jenkins from and some girls from Rock Girl about their experiences as young girls in their respective communities. Reporter Carlo. Pic COURTNEY AFRICA

Carlo Petersen

A MESSAGE of hope from one distraught community to another was exchanged when 12 girls from the Cape Flats visited Bredasdorp for Youth Day.

The girls, who all live in gang strongholds, shared their experiences with young women from the farming town where Anene Booysen, 17, Kayde Williams, 5, and Elda Jaftha, 15, were murdered over the past two years.

The young ladies from Manenberg, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha had been on a road trip to Port Elizabeth as part of an initiative by an NGO called Rock Girl.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has partnered with Rock Girl. Regional head Hishaam Mohamed said the department would also unveil a “safe space bench” – a Rock Girl initiative which started in Manenberg to provide children a space to support one another – at the court in August in memory of the three girls.

Rock Girl founder India Baird said: “The idea to stop off in Bredasdorp came after the community, and girls here especially, experienced their own trauma after the murders of Anene, Kayde and Elda.

“The girls came to offer their stories and support. We have found that offering them a safe space to talk about their traumatic experiences empowers them to break free from the fear,” she said.

Ferlin Du Preez, 15, from Gugulethu, spoke to the Bredasdorp girls yesterday.

“We met girls who also experience gang violence. We gave them guidelines and came across two girls who were raped. They shared their stories with us on the bus and we gave them support,” she said.

Booysen’s best friend, Latitia Snyders, 14, said:

“It’s encouraging for us and we will keep in touch with them. Our community is still recovering after Anene and the other girls’ murders.”

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