The Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) and the organization Plea for Peace Project and Musical (PfPPM) certainly believe they can make a tangible difference.
Through the forum NVV, they intend to create awareness amongst City of Cape Town officials, the Western Cape government and people in affluent areas of the gigantic challenges that people in Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis and Nyanga are facing.
As a first step, NVV will form 20 cells where people present will engage in story-telling about the life on the flats.
They will also brainstorm solutions and make use of the digital and social media space to spread the word about the challenges and possible solutions to society and government.
Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA), said the organization has 422 schools affiliated under its auspices and 300 schools playing mini-cricket.
“We have fixtures, programs and mass participation in the game. What we can offer apart from cricket is also life skills. We have seen that one of the great cricketers like Vernon Philander came out of challenging circumstances,” Dien said.
“What we can do is to partner with PfPPM to introduce cricket in more areas and also pilot some schools with the Non-Violence Forum and its peace clubs.
Nadia Willoughby, a PfPPM associate, shared several stories of lawlessness. She asked how one can expect children to be “normal when grandfathers and grandmothers are using drugs in front of them.”
“A grade 8-learner came for counselling. He was excellent but did not reach his potential, because he joined elder people smoking cannabis on the corners of the street. ‘I did that because they give me attention and don’t scream and shout at me like my parent,’’ he told Willoughby.
In other areas on the flats, young girls say they would rather be paid for sex on the streets than come home and be raped by her grandfather, father and step-brothers.
“There was a young chirpy girl that once came to me and I saw she was not her normal self. I asked her. It emerged, her mother, who had fallen out of drug counselling, took her to the drug home and allowed her to be raped by three drug lords in order to get money for drugs,” Willoughby said.
Robin Coxson, founder of PfPPM, said one of the greatest challenges facing the organization, is that learners at both primary and high school level have little (access to parental guidance) faith and hope for the future and limited aspirations, even to pass matric.
The lack of police presence in areas on the flats is worrying. “I have gone for three weeks in Manenberg without seeing any police vehicle,” he added.
The PfPPM already has rolled out their program to 46 children at Manenberg Primary School and 67 at the Iqhayiya Secondary School in Khayelitsha.
“We use poetry, song, dance, cricket and tennis to instil in learners the freedom and power of the mind to endorse and embrace non-violence as a way of life,” said Coxson.
Western Province lined up with PfPPM to bring mini-cricket to Manenberg primary schools during the first term of 2017.
Through the assistance of Clinton du Preez, director: amateur cricket WPCA, and the coach Mark Khobane, the Association has been instrumental in training 25 educators from seven schools to score and manage intra and inter-schools cricket games.