Community cleans up Chatsworth as part of Mandela Day
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Durban - As a part of the Nelson Mandela Day celebration, the community of Chatsworth met and cleaned areas that were hard hit by the spate of looting and vandalism that took place in the past week.
South Africans of all race groups, young and old, from the community brought cleaning equipment such as brooms, spades, refuse bags and more to the Nelson Mandela Community Youth Centre in Chatsworth before going out to places that were dirty and vandalised in the area.
The programme co-ordinator at the centre and president of the Revolution Motorcycle Club, Clive Pillay, together with political leaders and bikers, led the cleaning campaign that attracted people from both the formal and informal community.
Doreen Manzi from Bottlebrush informal settlement said she came out to clean her area after it was vandalised. She said she was sad because now locals would have to travel far to buy food and other necessities.
“The damage is bad in most shops. Looters vandalised and stole resources that helped the entire community. In the morning we started cleaning at The Ridge and now we are moving to Bayview. I got involved in the cleaning because I want things to get back to normal,” said Manzi.
Pillay said each year they do a huge Nelson Mandela Day drive, but this year, because of the situation on the ground, they decided to mobilise volunteers to come together to do a clean-up in two of the hot spots, the Ridge Shopping Centre in Bottlebrush informal settlement and Bayview Shopping Centre.
He said racial tension would be in the country for a long time as it was a legacy of apartheid.
He said he was happy to see people coming together. He also said he had not seen any military on the ground in Chatsworth but he had seen police.
Another resident, Judah Desmond, said they were out on Sunday because of what Nelson Mandela stood for.
“We moved in the settlements to clean as South Africans, not as Indians or blacks. We want to show many in KZN that they should live together and have peace and unity. May God bless us all,” said Desmond.
Welcome Mafitiso, from eManyaleni informal settlement, said they usually celebrate the 67 minutes as a community, but they felt the need to come out to clean their area following the incidents that took place in the past few days.
“The past few days have been hard. It was not easy to come out due to racism. As the communities we have had meetings and decided to unite and be one because some people were unable to go to shops. This thing affected all of us, but some owners were not allowing blacks in their shops,” said Mafitiso.