Guardian angel with martial arts training helps schoolchildren traverse crime hotspot
Cape Town - Martial arts senior instructor Reverend Tamsanqa Nkevu has been called a guardian angel, after taking the initiative to help schoolchildren cross a bridge which is a hot spot for rape and crime.
Based in Kariega in the Eastern Cape, Nkevu said that over the years the area became a hot spot for the rape and robbery of pupils. An incident that occurred last April was the final straw for him.
A young girl, rushing to a 7am class, was raped under the bridge as she was making her way to school. Shortly afterwards, another girl was robbed of her cellphone and was almost raped but the offender, who himself was very young, succumbed to mob justice.
The incidents served as a turning point for Nkevu, and he decided that enough was enough.
“I felt the voice of God inside me moving me towards doing something about this problem.”
Nkevu said the incidents had been reported to police by locals and several schools had asked for intervention on numerous occasions.
“The R5 million tender set aside to create a bridge that would be safer and conducive for pupils to make it to school safely disappeared last year and all that was built was a bridge from hell. Worse than the previous one and more dangerous for the learners.”
Nkevu then took it upon himself to patrol the area every morning. His efforts to patrol and protect the bridge managed to keep robbers and rapists at bay and allowed children to get to school safely.
“I believe that nothing should prevent our children from getting an education in an attempt to better their lives and those of their families. The well-being and future of our communities depends on the development of these children, so I just couldn't sit by and watch them becoming victims of crime.”
Nkevu said that he decided to put his life at risk by getting up every morning to stand watch and patrol this dangerous area, having faith in God and his martial arts training.
“I believe that God has preserved a special place for us in heaven, and as such giving up my life now so that others can have better is not a loss, but I consider it a gain to me.
“Men are leaders in the community. Men have always been leaders and been expected to lead, especially in our black communities.The safety and well-being of our communities is in the hands of us men, because it is still we who make our communities unsafe by committing these crimes.”
He added that if men don't stand up and do something about the rape, robbery and abuse of women, “it is no secret or illusion that gender-based violence will persist, plunging communities deeper into poverty and unemployment”.
Nkevu emphasised the essential role of men in communities, saying it is their role to ensure that communities are safe and protected
He believes the police are no longer reliable because they are gangsters and have ties to gangs, making them susceptible to bribes.
“Men can start forming themselves into patrol groups and also organise neighbourhood watches in an attempt to fight rape and robbery and abuse of women. If we don’t stand up and do something as men, then I’m afraid these crimes will persist.”
Branch instructor at the Philbro Martial Arts Academy in Khayelitsha, Thomas Mthontsi, said that the organisation takes pride in the conviction their colleague displays.
“Young men need to take responsibility and own the situation. It doesn't help to avoid getting involved in violence, you need to stand up against it by creating safe environments for women and children,” he said.
The Cape Town branch of the organisation offers martial arts classes at various levels to both boys and girls. Mthontsi encouraged women to take self-defence classes and techniques so that they may protect themselves in dangerous situations.