The Amy Biehl Foundation honoured human rights activists posthumously during a Human Rights Day event at Vukukhanye Primary School in Langa.
The township’s foundation said many of the activists who advanced human rights deserve to be celebrated.
Among those was the late Mpumelelo Manzana of Gugulethu who the foundation said was brutally murdered in December last year.
Hundreds of residents from different areas gathered at the school where community workers and activists were praised for their contribution to society.
The family of Mr Manzana appeared sombre as speakers praised their son and others.
The day’s activities were greeted by loud cheers with some young people brandishing fake machine guns made out of wood. Others danced with fists in the air.
Amy Biehl centre co-ordinator, Lindiswa Mavavana, called on people to remember our community’s heroes and heroines.
She said there are many people who made it their mission to fight for human rights and they must not be forgotten.
“We have a duty to honour our people. These are people that fought for us. As the foundation we have many people who passed on like Mpumelelo (Manzana). We are also honouring him today and many others.
“But we specifically honour him because he had a dream of uniting young people. His dream was to have a street festival but unfortunately, he was stabbed to death in December.”
She said her organisation would continue to honour people who are actively involved in their communities. She urged residents to be part of crime-fighting initiatives in their areas.
“We should be part of the solution in our communities. We also have a responsibility to fight for people’s rights. We need to serve people genuinely,” she said.
Mr Manzana’s parents Mpila and Nokwakha urged young people to stay away from crime.
The parents said they were happy that organisations such as the Amy Biehl Foundation still care about the activists of the past.
“What makes us more happy is the fact that our son is the main talking point here.
“We think he deserves that because he was such a loving person. Peace was his middle name,” said mother Nokwakha.
His father Mpila encouraged the foundation to continue hosting such events.
“They have been very supportive to us since the death of our child. This is rare to see. May the Mighty Lord give them more power to do such events. As my wife has alluded, my son was a peace loving man. Even if we had a problem at home he would solve that peacefully. He loved his community and the youth,” he said.
The celebrations were welcomed by Gugulethu residents.
Nokubonga Maveli said she was surprised to see something other than politics. “I am glad this is not politically aligned. We are not here to listen to empty promises from politicians. What makes this appealing is that community members are honouring community members,” she said.
The foundation has promised to continue honouring those who contribute to the community.