There are many women across the Cape Flats who go unsung in their efforts to combat social ills plaguing their communities, but last Saturday, 20 of them had their moment to shine.
The women came from Hanover Park, Manenberg, Heideveld, Delft, Eerste River, Mitchell’s Plain, Mfuleni, Philippi and Khayelitsha – some of the toughest, most poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in the city – to be honoured at the Cape Flats Women Alumni’s gala and exhibition, held by the Manenberg Safety Forum, in Salt River, on Saturday November 28.
Roegshanda Pascoe, chairwoman of the Manenberg Safety Forum, said they were working to change people’s perceptions of the Cape Flats. Its reputation for gangsterism and gender violence overshadowed the efforts of community builders and the extraordinary women who defied the odds and, with little or no money, worked to make their communities better places to live.
A day before the event in Salt River, the women went on a roadshow through their communities where they were greeted with great fanfare.
Lindeka Qampi and Pumza Tilda Yophe were among those honoured. Ms Qampi, an award-winning artist and self-taught photographer from Khayelitsha who teaches art to children, said the recognition meant a lot to her.
“Sharing skills with a different generation is forever an educational weapon,” she said.
It was important to share awareness, heal the broken heart without judgement, she said. “Let’s all use one language together as people of Cape Flats.”
She added: “I did not expect to be given an award, but I am happy that Roegshanda Pascoe from Manenberg gave me flowers while I am still alive.”
Ms Yophe, of Mfuleni, runs Voices of Azania, an organisation advocating for the rights of foreigners and for service delivery. She said she was thrilled to get an award as she had not expected it.
Many did not take her organisation’s work seriously, so she was glad to have the recognition, she said.
Honouring the women’ hard work, determination and commitment was the right thing to do, Ms Pascoe said.
“These women are our heroines. These women are the pillars of our communities. They have created safe spaces for many children in the township. We want to say we see their work and they should continue with it.“