Langa’s youth have called for the police to do more to fight gender violence in the township.
Scores of young activists and ordinary Langa residents marched last Friday to mark the start of Women’s Month, and they handed a memorandum to the local police station.
Children as young as 9 were frequently victims of violence in the area, but the perpetrators escaped justice, the marchers said.
The march began at Langa High School and ended at the police station where the young people chanted, sang and danced before handing the memorandum to station commander Colonel Deidre Engelbrecht.
Simamkele Matiwane, a member of the Girl to Girl youth organisation, said the organisation had joined the march to make sure girls’ voices were heard.
“We have a bigger challenge in this township of young girls being raped. But the main challenge was that perpetrators are always walking freely on the streets. We were then encouraged to do something in the community to fight against violence.”
Girl to Girl advises girls how to protect themselves from violence and also gives them sanitary towels.
Siyabonga Khusela, founder of #Langaformen, said the police need to make Langa safer for girls and women.
“We have run out of patience to talk about issues like sexual assault of our young sisters, our mothers included, and crime in Langa,” he said.
“All we need now is justice. We can no longer keep quiet and wait for the police to act if they want and not act when they are not in the mood.“We are here to urge the police to do a simple thing, take their job seriously.”
Colonel Engelbrecht promised to give feedback after meeting with Langa’s community police forum and associated bodies.
“I hope we can build a healthy relationship between us, the community and these young people,” she said.
“We will sit around the table and see what we have not been doing right and did right. But from there we hope to improve.”
Activist and singer Nosipho Daniels was part of the march and said it was time for young people to speak out. Project Playground, Cloud Deliveries, Love Life, Vusa and #Woza also took part.