Gugulethu is a ‘waste product’

Enathi Mbanga.

Gugulethu is an historic ghetto filled with crime, poverty, illiteracy and above all, it suffers from a lack of humanity, something we should have for one another.

To me, Gugulethu has become a waste product.

The people who live in Gugulethu have so much potential, yet it’s wasted on alcohol, drugs, crime and factional battles. Most people would blame it on racism that we, as black people – Africans in particular – were subjected to in the past. Honestly, I feel that racism has become our biggest scapegoat, other than to agree that we are to be blamed for the mess Gugulethu is in.

We have artists, writers, poets, dancers, business people, the list can go on and on.

Nju as some of us call it, has so much potential, but sadly those individuals tend to fade away. It’s like a curse. Some can escape it; some embrace it and use it to inspire others to become something in life.

However, the majority of those with potential to do great things allow the scourge of crime, poverty, drugs and illiteracy to dictate how they should live their lives.

Mediocrity has become another issue that plagues Gugulethu people. More and more people don’t mind living in their family homes. “As long as I have a roof over my head and I have food then I’m okay in life” – this philosophy has started to become a trend in our beloved township.

This means there’s more mouths to be fed. Usually in family homes, there’s only one or two people who are the actual breadwinners.

Crime has plagued the streets of Gugulethu for decades, but we use to know we could always count on the community to intervene. Yet now the community has suddenly stopped fighting crime, meaning that they are allowing crime to rise at an alarming rate. Now it is at a state where people are being killed in their own homes.

Same as the drug problem, people know who sells drugs and where they sell them, yet we don’t report it because we don’t feel like it is our problem.

Funny enough, when the same people who don’t report it get robbed by a drug addict, they complain about the drug problem that we face in Gugulethu. Gugulethu residents have this nasty habit of complaining about the problems they see, but they never do anything about it. Whenever there is something that is done about it, we are quick to praise those brave individuals but never truly give them the support when it is needed.

I see Gugulethu as a wasteland, that has the potential to change, but only if we can actually come together like the generation that fought against apartheid. At this moment we are segregated, and sadly we are segregated from one another and that’s our biggest ongoing problem.

* Enathi Mbanga is a young Gugulethu resident.