Feel Good Travel

The Other Cape Town

A posse of small boys run across the cracked asphalt, their eyes intent on the peeling ball. Little legs perform mad skills to trap the ball and shoot for the spot between two discarded jerseys on the ground, marking the goal zone.

An old man comes out of his front door, stick in hand, and does a slow shuffle around the courtyard, nodding a greeting to everyone he passes.

A woman chats to her neighbour while hanging up washing on a line strung between the two landings.

Around the corner, groups of mothers chat while scanning the mass of kids coming out of the school, waiting to walk them home. A lollipop lady in neon green controls the traffic and ushers the children safely over the road.

In their cheerful red uniforms, clusters of kids disperse noisily in every direction.

This scene depicts an average Thursday on the Cape Flats. Hanover Park is home to a community of 50,000 people and just over 500 gangsters. These gangs dominate everyday life, and the community is too afraid or disempowered to stand together against them for fear of reprisals.

Hanover Park

“Can I have a dream?

Can I have a future?

Can I grow old one day?”

This refrain from the compelling song in the Ceasefire video linked below should be shocking, but it is not. Children tentatively ask if they can dare to have dreams, hopes, and aspirations of a successful future and safe passage to adulthood and beyond. These are not requests; they are rights enshrined in our constitution, but they feel unattainable for the youth of Hanover Park.

When the gunshots ring out, the streets become silent as residents gather up children, run inside, and lie on the floor. The drug fueled shooters do not know or care about the innocents killed in the crossfire.

The crime statistics in Hanover Park defy belief. Mothers beg for this scourge to be addressed, but their cries for help fall on deaf ears, reports are lost in the quagmire of corruption, and day by day, they lose hope of a better life, a life without fear, a better future for their children.

 “Can I have a dream?

 Can I have a future?”

Can I go out and play,

Can I grow old one day?”

Travel for five or 10 kilometres in any direction from Hanover Park, and you will find lush golf courses, beautiful beaches, leafy suburbs, and stylish malls. The views of Table Mountain are spectacular from the pot-holed roads and derelict open spaces of Hanover Park.

Muizenburg Beach

The area between Table Mountain and Khayelitsha seems invisible, a hidden shame of the city that scoops up accolades and awards every year for being a leading destination for tourists.

To accept these awards while problems like those experienced by the residents of Hanover Park and other crime hotspots in Cape Town remain unaddressed is a disgrace.

Shame on you, shame on us.

The Ceasefire Project Wants to Change the Future for the Youth

Ceasefire is an American program adapted for Hanover Park by Pastor Craven Engel. It is run by a team of volunteers that includes two ex-gangsters, now angels in human form, Jeremy Davis and Glen Hans.

They mediate between the gangs, calm down volatile situations, and do everything they can to change Hanover Park’s narrative. There is no quick fix, but they strive to be role models for the children and inspire dreams and hope to #Change the Future for the youth.

Their compassion is boundless as they also assist gang members wanting to choose a different path and escape the violent culture of gang life.

They take these damaged men into nature and show them a different world. A world of beauty, kindness, and structure. It can take years to rehabilitate a shooter from the gangs, but they have success stories.

The Ceasefire Project mentors these men every step of the way, helping them get a driver’s license, acquire skills, a job, and hope for the future. They aim to turn them into men who can steer children away from the soulless, desolate life in the gangs.

These hard men also cry.

“Can I have a dream? Can I have a future?”

Please watch this video about the inspiring members of Ceasefire and the hopes and dreams of the children from Hanover Park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNl8t2k5iks

For more information on the Ceasefire Project, visit the website.

For a guided visit to Hanover Park and Ceasefire HQ, please get in touch with Auntie Nitas Tours. Email [email protected] Call 27825727377

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