Action Society handed over 53 pairs of new vellies to the valiant Lentegeur East Neighbourhood Watch members to celebrate their exemplary battle against gangsterism. Their bravery in the face of daily peril has inspired Action Society for many years.
“Usually, when I share stories from the Cape Flats, it is about doom and gloom, but today, we are in Lentegeur for something different. We are here to inspire and give back to people who truly inspire our whole team: The Lentegeur East Neighbourhood Watch. Like soldiers patrolling a military base, these brave women and men have been putting their lives on the line since 2007. Their worn-out shoes, sun-bleached uniforms and faded caps are a testament to their unwavering bravery to step up in their community, keeping the enemy behind the gate. Today, we can give each of them a brand new pair of shoes to make their strides to keep especially children safe a little easier,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.
“We want to thank Vellie Boutique, SAAI and Paarlberg Mahindra, who jumped in to make this special day possible. These shoes might soon be worn out from the countless hours of patrolling, but their dedication and love for their community and families will never be quelled by the hatred surrounding them. They walk the walk of true community heroes.”
The 53 members start their daily patrols at 5:30 am, in the dark, when most community members are still fast asleep or just beginning to get ready for the day. By the time the sun rises over the horizon, their patrols are already well underway. They work day and night, spreading their forces to cover as much ground as possible. In 2016, they launched their walking bus and have been escorting the community’s children to school and back home on streets where getting caught in the crossfire of gang shootouts is a daily concern.
“Lentegeur East is an extraordinary tale of how this small community in Mitchell’s Plain has managed to become one of the vanguards of community safety. The Lentegeur East Neighbourhood Watch should be an example to all communities in South Africa to step out of their fear and comfort zones and step up to make a difference exactly where they are. Theirs is a lesson in how strong even the smallest communities can be when they work together for a common cause. With minimal resources and an environment more hostile than most can imagine, this group has become a company of heroes,” concluded Cameron.