Cape Flats Alumni ’superwomen’ doing amazing deeds with no funding
Cape Town – There are ‘’superwomen’’ on the Cape Flats who have no super powers or funds at their disposal. But with open hearts and steely determination, they give of their time and the little money they have to combat social ills in their communities – this in the absence of the government playing its role.
On Thursday, 20 Cape Flats Alumni nominees – from Hanover Park, Manenberg, Heideveld, Delft, Eerste River, Mitchells Plain, Mfuleni, Philippi and Khayelitsha – went on a roadshow through their communities and were greeted with great fanfare. Deservingly so, because they work tirelessly to combat the social ills on the Cape Flats, with the Covid-19 lockdown having added to their challenges.
Degrees and doctorates they might not have – with a lack of money and opportunities playing their part – but they graduated in the University of Life with distinction. On Saturday, these superwomen – Jacqueline Cupido (Manenberg); Mymoena Scholtz (Vrygrond); Kashiefa Mohammed (Hanover Park); Marian Kortjie (Factreton, Kensington); Chanice Appels (Portlands, Mitchells Plain); Ursula Felkers (Blikkiesdorp, Delft); Tilda Yoppe (Mfuleni); Lindy Jacobs (Wesbank); Zelda Manuel (Parkwood and Grassy Park); Marinda Lottering (Kraaifontein); Vanessa Adriaanse (Heideveld); Nomacebo Mbayo (Hezelden, Philippi); Soraya Samson (Manenberg); Ann October (Mitchells Plain); Washielah Dirks (Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain); Lindeka Qampi (Khayelitsha); Nadia Kamaar (Delft); Fayrooz Kelly (Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain); Joanie Fredericks (Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain); and Avril Andrews (Hanover Park) – will be receiving their ’’capes’’ at a gala event at Community House in Salt River.
Roegshanda Pascoe, chairperson of the Manenberg Safety Forum, who launched the initiative with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime against great odds and with nominal funding, said they are changing the narrative on the Cape Flats, with the media focus mainly on the gangsterism and gender-based violence in their communities.
“It’s never written about these extraordinary women who stand out in their communities and take the fire and take the bullets and take the abuse in the absence of government playing its role. These women of colour are saying not 16 days but 365 days of activism, every day of our life.
“Whether we have food in our homes, whether there is electricity or not, we are out there and pick up the baton every day and we fight a strong fight to save our children, to save our families and save our communities.
‘’With the outbreak of Covid-19, it has become evident who the pillars and building blocks in our communities really are. Even with little to no resources, they pulled together and started supporting each other in feeding kitchens as well as taking care of our people in the community.
’’Some made time to support victims of crime and violence at court, checked in on those who tested positive for Covid-19 and in the absence of schooling, they created space in their homes for children to keep on learning,’’ she said.
’’It was work 24/7 as domestic violence and substance abuse increased. Without shelters, it was these women that kept everything together in the absence of government not stepping up to the plate for the most vulnerable. It is essential that we uplift these heroes and acknowledge their hard work, determination and commitment to humanity and their communities.’’
Therefore, the spotlight primarily fell on these 20 selfless women this week, who, said Pascoe, ‘’never get time to debrief or time out for themselves. This week is to allow them to deal with their own pain, challenges and struggles’’.
The aim of the initiative is also to encourage women from different communities to support each other. They have been taking part in ‘’healing circles’’ and spent time in nature, among others, and the highlight will be Saturday’s gala event.
“At the gala event, they will be getting their ’capes’, their certificates and trophies from the Manenberg Safety Forum to acknowledge how they are serving their communities, mostly without any resources. They do the work out of their own pocket. They don’t get paid,” said Pascoe.
‘’Funding is the sad part. Saturday is the gala event but the caterer, for one, still has to be paid. Where I am going to get R20 000? But I trust in God.”
The programme started on Monday with spoken poetry and an art exhibition, which highlighted the pain and harsh realities they have to confront – for example, the loss of a child or loved one, or showcasing the victims of gang violence and other social ills.
Having witnessed the spirit, humility and courage of these women first-hand, it restores faith in humanity and allows for renewed hope for a better life for all on the Cape Flats.