On the 20th of November Africa Unite’s team of youth human rights peer educators conducted a community dialogue in Nyanga Township which was mainly aimed at strengthening and building a strong relationship with the community of Nyanga. The relationship built is crucial for both Africa Unite and the community at large to work together in the effort to resolve and mitigate some of the conflicts that are ravaging the township of Nyanga.
The dialogue came as a follow up to the community assessment that the youth peer educators had earlier carried on with key local community stakeholders in Nyanga – councillors, church leaders, youth group, refugee group, house of traditional leaders and women leaders. These stakeholders mentioned above were part of the community social dialogue.
During the dialogue the peer educators did a historical timeline activity review whereby the participants reflected back on significant events which happened in their community in the past years and had an impact on people’s livelihoods and social cohesion. The participants mentioned a number of events such as
- the 1993 to 1995 truck drivers strike;
- 1998 recording high rate of foetuses dumped;
- the 2002 closure of shabeens by soldiers;
- 2008 xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals living in the area;
Currently the participants mentioned that the community recorded a high number of;
- Teenagers dropping out of school and engaging into gangsterism and drug abuse
- Rape, robberies, unemployment, murdering and teenage pregnancy
- To justify these trends, the latest crime statistics released in August 2013 show that Nyanga is the murder capital of the country crime cases with about five people being killed a week.
Some participants mentioned that because of these events that occurred, they are now living in fear and felt that the police, community and other relevant stakeholders should work together to iron out these insecurities and expressed their willingness to work with Africa Unite. Some of the participants mentioned that the women and children are living in fear in this area. Most of the participants accused the police for working along with the criminals through exchanging money and drugs. One of the issues raised by the community was that the criminals know that the law does not sentence under age children; hence they use these teenagers to carry out these crimes. Various comments were made by the participants, and they were thankful to Africa Unite for the dialogue which brought local stakeholders together. The participants made a lot of comments, however they mentioned that the historical timeline brought back essential memories and they were grateful for the opportunity to air their views freely through the dialogue. The community also expressed that they are excited to work with Africa Unite and a commitment was made that the same people will be part of the follow up session and other future platforms.
Africa Unite youth peer educators will be running a series of these dialogues in the Gugulethu District as part of the social cohesion project.
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