Postcards from Masiphumelele

A New Contributor Joins Cape Point Chronicle

On the Cape Point Peninsula there are two very distinct levels to our society, and although they are separated by nothing more than a road or two, they may as well be the dark side of the moon.

These two sides are typically the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There may be shades of grey here and there, but it seems to me that in the area between Table Mountain and Cape Point, the line is mainly clear.

Due to the political history of South Africa this used to be purely black and white, (actually, white and non-white is more accurate), however, those distinctions are not as applicable under the flag of the Rainbow Nation. Whatever the new criteria, it is clear that we live in a community that has sections within it that have no understanding of what it is like to be in the other sections.

There is still an undercurrent of racism running deep through the society, and whilst we try to hide it under a veneer of tolerance, it doesn’t take much to bring it to the surface. On the Cape Point Peninsula we do not get the same rioting and violence as elsewhere, but there are still events that point to it, though always in a way that can be later denied. (The recent attempt to have Capri declared an SRA was so thinly veneered with the excuse of ‘keeping baboons out’ that it was comical.)

This misunderstanding leads to fear, which leads to resentment, which leads to anger, which leads to violence, which leads to a dark place we don’t want to go to.

It is easy for me to write about my experiences in the world of the ‘haves’. This is where I live, this is what I am. However, this is only half of what the Cape Point Peninsula is about; there are thriving communities here that I have no knowledge of. These communities have their own concerns, issues, vibrancy, intricacies and nuances that an outsider can never understand. Yet, how can I have a resource that is representative of the Cape Point Peninsula if they are not included?

I certainly cannot write about them, even if I went to visit and wrote about that, it would be nothing more than a voyeuristic account by a tourist, not really what understanding is built on. And understand we truly need to do if we are ever to have a truly thriving, integrated society.

That is why I am proud to announce that a new member has joined the Cape Point Chronicle team. Precious Mzuvukile is a resident, community leader and champion of Masiphumelele. She will be writing accounts for the site about life in the community of Masiphumelele, their concerns, stories and hope for the future. Precious has written a brief introduction of herself, which I will put on as a separate post, and on our About Us page.

Only through understanding our neighbours can we build trust, acceptance and tolerance.

Over to Precious:

 

“As a way of starting to inform your audience about myself and Masiphumelele community; I am a resident and a community leader in Masiphumelele. To be a community leader in Masiphumelele means you are leading in organizing the community settlement, community welfare issues, socio-economic issues and educational issues. My leadership role also comes in during times of disasters; such fires, floods, murders and xenophobic conflicts, hunger, landlessness, crime etc. People are looking up to me for answers in the intricate problems of a community of more than 40 000 residents from all over the African continent. People who are residing in Masiphumelele are coming from South Africa, Zimbabwe, DRC, Mozambique, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Somalia, etc.

The common factor about all these people is that they are poor. They struggle for survival day in and out. Their livelihoods are dependant on jobs offered by the surrounding White communities. It is also my job as leader to make sure that the relations between Masiphumelele and the surrounding communities is well because we are dependant on each other. Masiphumelele is a source of labour and they are employers. I must admit it is not an easy job to do due to the history of apartheid relationships between Black and Whites in South Africa.

I guess that I am managing through my Christian faith, believing that “what is impossible with man is possible with God”. I am also counting on my limited educational background. I was trained as a teacher. I taught in the local high school for a good number of years before I served as part-time City of Cape Town Councilor in the area. The challenges facing me and this community are so big. The government and the City council cannot solve them without partnership with private individuals, business sector and progressive NGOs. Let me take a pause here: I hope to dwell issue by issue in the coming rounds.”

Precious Mzuvukile- Masiphumelele resident

 

Add Your Voice to Cape Point Chronicle

If you are reading this and thinking that your community needs a voice, then send me an email with a sample post. I am looking for up-beat, human stories about he different communities of the Cape Point Peninsula.

Add your voice by becoming a contributor to Cape Point Chronicle and help bring the communities together.

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