17 July 2019
There Is A War In Our Midst – We Must Respond
Working class communities on the Cape Flats are engulfed in a violent and deadly civil conflict.
Gang turf wars, drug peddling, violent crime, murders, sexual assaults, killing of children and the incessant breakdown of the social fabric of family and community life are the day-to-day realities of citizens in working class areas across the Cape Flats. Areas such as Bontehuewel, Bishop Lavis, Delft, Elsies River, Hanover Park, Hazendal, Lentegeur, Lavender Hill, Lotus River, Manenberg, Philippi, Ravensmead, Tafelsig, Valhalla Park and Woodlands.
The violence has increased exponentially over the past year and so has the death toll along with the population of trauma-filled survivors, witnesses and families. In the past six months alone hundreds have been killed violently on the Cape Flats. More distressing is the fact that most of those killed are under 30.
There are people living in these war zones, and there are people living outside who may feel safe and sufficiently removed to be unaffected by this conflict. But there’s is a false sense of security.
We are all in this City together and constitute a living ecosystem. While some may not experience the day-to-day violence that others do, the social breakdown and conflict will not be confined by the railway line or highway separating you.
It will spread and intensify, unless we all commit to find ways of building resistance, resilience, solidarity and courage to bring about systemic change in our working class townships to reverse the social breakdown and end this civil war and the war on humanity in our midst.
The state has responded with military solutions – more police, army deployment, more raids, arrests and crackdowns. These are desperate and short term solutions that do not address systemic change. As one activist put it, the Cape Flats need armies of social workers, trauma councillors, child psychologists, remedial education practitioners, skills development practitioners, drug rehabilitation support groups, sports coaches, town planners, architects, builders. These are the armies that can lead to systemic change.
In the meantime, those in the war zones remain trapped in street battles, drug-fuelled crime, unspeakable sexual violence and hopeless realities.
The people in the war zones of our City are crying out for help. They need support to grapple with their plans and strategies to bring about change. They need solidarity to amplify their demands. They need refuge from the killings and violence. THEY NEED RECOGNITION THAT THEIR LIVES MATTER TOO!
Claremont Main Road Masjid is calling on faith leaders across the city to spring into action and put our heads together to find ways of meaningfully responding to the deadly conflict on the Cape Flats, and provide support to people living in the war zones.
This Friday, July 19, Henrietta Abrahams, a grassroots community leader in Bonteheuwel, will deliver the pre-khutbah talk at Claremont Main Road Majid and reflect on some of the current realities faced by working class communities in Cape Town, and the types of responses needed.
Following the congregational prayer, we will hold a protest vigil in Main Road Claremont, to raise the call for greater support and solidarity with those trapped in the conflict areas.
Friday 19 July 2019
Claremont Main Road Masjid (CMRM)
12.50pm: Pre-Khutbah talk by Henrietta Abrahams
1.30pm: Protest Vigil on Main Road Claremont, outside CMRM
CONTACT: Masjid office: 0216838384; [email protected];
Jaamia Galant Dr. Salih Solomon Imam A. Rashied Omar
Secretary Chairperson Imam
On Behalf of the CMRM Board