The Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA), the Coxson family and Nadia Willoughby joined forces earlier in 2017 to form NVV as a means to inspire non-violent values. The aim is to utilize cricket, music, art, tennis and poetry to train the mind in exchanging instant gratification for long-term gain.
In all, 46 learners at Manenberg Primary School and 67 at Khayelitsha High School have received training in art, music, poetry and tennis since Robin Coxson, his wife and Willoughby set up the Plea for Peace Project and Musical (PfPPM).
The PfPPM and the WPCA have since partnered to form NVV. It is utilized as a platform to share the stories of affected people on the Cape Flats.
Thereby it hopes to mobilize South African society to address violence which adversely impacts hundreds of thousands of people in the Cape Flats.
Clinton du Preez, director of amateur cricket of the WPCA, and the coach Mark Khoabane, donated KFC mini-cricket sets to six primary schools on the Cape Flats earlier in 2017.
In all, 25 educators from seven schools have been trained over three sessions to score and manage intra-and inter-schools cricket games.
A mini-cricket festival involving boys and girls from seven schools on the Cape Flats is planned for the first week of November 2017, but there are challenges.
Hilton Lombard, a teacher at Manenberg Primary School, had been unable to schedule cricket matches on Saturdays due to the ongoing gang-related shootings, explained Robin Coxson.
Probed about the Manenberg stalemate of cricket activities, Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the WPCA, promised an investigation into the challenges faced by Manenberg and other schools to schedule fixtures and play matches or train.
He said the WPCA will also look into the possibility of hosting games elsewhere so that affected cricketers from the Cape Flats can still play and enjoy the game.
“We will re-arrange fixtures and coaching sessions so that young players can continue to participate in the game,” Dien added.
Coxson warned that rehearsals at Manenberg Primary School for a stage production and scheduled cricket matches on Saturdays at the same school have virtually come to a halt due to ongoing gang-related shootings and revenge killings nearby.
Since the start of July 2017, Coxson said he has not seen any police vehicle in Manenberg. During the second week of the rehearsal of The Plea for Peace Project and Musical at Manenberg Primary School at the end of June, there were two revenge shootings.
On the Wednesday of the second week of their rehearsal, a parent came to fetch her two children and asked to take two other children at the rehearsal as well as a gang shooting was about to commence.
Since that week, the possible rehearsals for stage productions have been a nightmare, said Coxson.
He expressed his annoyance because of “a lack of political will on the part of authorities to do something about the violence.
“How is it possible that we talk about a Rainbow Nation when there are so few people in Manenberg, Delft, Ocean View, Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha who don’t have peaceful access to schooling and resources?
Coxson questioned why most of the shootings occur during the morning when our kids walk to school and when the learners return from school (with no police vehicles in sight)?
Leoni Adams, a member of the Manenberg community, shared the riveting details of how traumatized one of her daughters was after witnessing the killing of a man at a traffic light in broad daylight.
She required counselling but has not stepped out of their home apart from going to school and has become depressed because of that incident.
Fuldila Jacobs, recently retired head master of Manenberg Primary School, said it is not uncommon to have a father of a home belonging to one gang, while one of his sons belong to another gang and the second son being part of a third gang.
Jacobs pleaded for an overhaul of the current curriculum to cater for right-brain children, instead of a dysfunctional one-size-fits-all-system.
“You can do interventions until you are blue in the face, but nothing is going to happen until the department (of education) changes the curriculum.”
Venessa Padayachee, national advocacy and lobbying manager of the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), called for the lobbying of parliament and the mobilization of the community to change the current curriculum.
Amelia September of the Manenberg Women’s League and the Taking Back our Children Campaign, lamented the fact that the community is not united against the scourges of violence, gangs and the disruption of life.
She said there are not merely street gangs, but also organized crime syndicates from outside the community.
September questioned the current dynamic, saying there is a much deeper issue, a political interference that keeps the community paralyzed in fear, dividing them and limiting action.
“Rich and poor need to come together,” she said.
Dien made a passionate plea to all role players of the NVV to remain positive and defiant despite the obvious challenges, while reaching out to all peace-loving stakeholders to unite in addressing violence and a lack of resources.
“We need to be sensitive and informed by alarming incidence of violence and other anti-social activities.
“Yet, we must also continue to be solution-driven and look at positives, instead of being drained and overwhelmed or feeling hopeless about events in gang-affected parts of the Cape Flats,” he added.