Nyanga residents are delighted that the Nyanga Development Forum (NDF) has finally been launched to advance development in the area. The NDF will offer support to sectors such as the police, health, education and the broader community.
At the launch on Saturday April 21 at the Zolani Centre, chairperson of the forum, Thembekile Mtokwana, said he was hugely excited that they have finally launch the forum.
He said the launch was very important, both to Nyanga residents and nationally, because it will also help to deal with addressing the issue of crime and the unfortunate label the area has as the “country’s murder capital”.
Mr Mtokwana, however, believes that this label can be shed.
“The NDF is a critical structure in this area. It will achieve if we support it. We want Nyanga to change and we will change it. We are determined to change it. We have people with efficiency to change it. There is talent here, there are many educated people here to change our area. We will also allow people from outside Nyanga to help us change Nyanga. If one is from outside and has skills to uplift and change the area, we cannot push them away,” he said.
Mr Mtokwana called on all people of Nyanga to be part of the forum. He said people should not think it is a political organisation or that it is linked to any political formation. He said the organisation will be involved in many issues to develop and uplift the area. He said one of many duties will be to seek sponsors for schools in the area. He said people of the area should refrain from begging and start to do things on their own.
“When we grew up (Bantu) Biko talked about self-reliance. I think it is about time that we refocus our minds to what Biko talked about. We should start doing things for ourselves and our area. As the forum we shall set programmes that will develop Nyanga. We will create a space for artists, structures for health and education and work with police to fight crime,” he said.
The launch was welcomed by many, including well-known Nyanga businesswoman Maphindi Nongalaza.
An ecstatic Ms Nongalaza also called on local business people to be part of the forum and support it.
She said Nyanga has the potential to be the best in the country.
“I am truly delighted with this. It is long overdue.
“We have many people who are able to change Nyanga for good. Its children are educated and reasonable people. I want to be involved in local issues and I urge business people to support the forum and be part of it,” said Ms Nongalaza.
She thanked Nyanga for being great to her business. She said if people of Nyanga can support and protect her business, there is nothing stopping them from frighting crime and other social ills.
“You know, one boy once told me that I have security that I do not know. He said at night they look after my business because I was one of them. That touched me.
“That means we have people who love their area, who can fight crime to the end. We really need to upgrade Nyanga to another level,” she said.
One of the initiators and senior citizens of Nyanga, Reverend Sonny Tyatyam, wished the forum’s leadership all the best.
He thanked people who fought for the revival of the forum. He said when the idea was sold to him, he was excited because there was a need for an organisation like that.
Mr Tyatyam said areas like Khayelitsha and Gugulethu should have asked Nyanga for ideas, not the other way around.
He said now that the forum is in place, he hopes good things will come Nyanga’s way.