The Igwiba Foundation used their Heritage Day event in Mfuleni to advance the fight against gender-based violence and crime, promote Xhosa culture, and focus on the life of township children.
The foundation drew crowds at the Garden City Park by staging musical items and poems with young people leading the performances. Young traditional groups enthralled the crowds by singing and dancing to Xhosa and traditional songs.
Organisers said the park was a good space to gather for educational purposes. They said at other times, a patch of ground would have been used as a place to commit crime.
But the concern on the day was the life of a young black child in the townships. Speaker after speaker was concerned about the rising crime committed by young people. Some said most young people have opted to stay away from their homes for drugs and a fast life.
However, the day was considered a success because it was mostly attended by young people. It was a good day to speak to them and give them life advice.
Igwiba Foundation founder Nosiphiwo Ncanisa said the aim is not only to restore and preserve culture but to teach young people respect and responsibility.
She said they want children to be the pride of the country. “This is a good day to remind us of our cultures and traditions. But it is also a day that we can use to educate our children about gender-based violence. We have seen how people kill each other. We have brought up our children (separately) as girls and boys and that has a problem going forward. We need to let them know that they are the same. A boy should be able to do house chores like the girl. They need to play together and have respect for each other. We need to tell the boys that it is okay for them to cry,” she said.
Another member of the foundation, Nobuntu Tshoni, said seeing young people committing crimes and delving into drugs while parents seemed to be not bothered is troubling her.
She urged parents to know their children and their whereabouts at all times.
Ms Tshoni also appealed to parents to use the foundation to their advantage. She said the foundation has group classes and counselling sessions. She called on everyone to go back to the days when “your child was mine child”.
Speaker of the day, Keneuoe Duna, a social worker from the Metro East, also made a call for an end to gender-based violence.
She said back in the Eastern Cape, in Mount Fletcher to be specific, gatherings like this one was used to spread news and messages to the community.
She said it was good to see people in one place, developing each other in a good way.
“We will be happy if parents can work with us to fight crime. We always think gender-based violence is a women’s thing but men are also affected by it. We urge men to report gender-based violence. We know there are men that are abused out there. Please come forward. We also need to say to our boys, it is good to cry. There is more that we can do as a community to fight crime in our areas,” she said.
She said Mfuleni is among the top areas when it comes to gender-based violence.
Community leader Malibongwe Yisa commended the foundation for caring for the young and the elderly.
Mr Yisa said Mfuleni is an area where many things are lacking. He said seeing organisations taking care of children is a bonus for the community struggling to fight crime. “We need young people with good behaviour. This is one organisation that is helping us with that. We need to support the founders especially the chairperson Ms Ncacisa. She is doing a good job for us as a community of this area,” he said.
Music, songs, dance and other performances united the community of Mfuleni on the day.