Lavender Hill needs hashtag #Save Lavender Hill Community because of ongoing violence.
Lavender Hill is a community that is under siege, but Lavender Hill will never be a trending favourite with mainstream media.
Yesterday, children as young as eight years old, who were on their way to school, saw once again, how one gangster was killed by another rival gang member. The shooting took place at about 8 0'clock on an open field opposite Hillwood Primary School.
School children use the very same open field as a thoroughfare to their schools. You will see children in their various school uniforms from Zerilda Park Primary, Hillwood Primary, Levana Primary, Prince George Primary and Lavender Hill High School, walking to their only real hope to help them escape the poverty and other evils of their neighbourhood.
When the shooting happened, the children were there on the field, caught in this crossfire.
Young children watched the shot man stagger across the field and then saw him jerk before finally dying. These same children are writing their final examinations.
The Lavender Hill Safe Schools Cluster called an emergency meeting. The meeting was attended by SAPS, the education department, the Department of Sports and Culture, teacher union representatives, the schools in the Lavender Hill/Capricorn area and the CPF chairperson.
Many teachers shared their experiences of the escalating violence that has been plaguing the Lavender Hill belt for the past month.
"Our school was like a war zone yesterday," said the deputy principal of Hillwood. " Our children and children from the neighbouring schools came running into the school. Parents and other members of the community sought shelter here. It was scary."
Another teacher said, "We are emotionally and physically scarred by the ongoing violence that is taking place in the community. Our children witness violence on a daily basis. Our trauma is indescribable. We can't share our stories and fears with our own families because of the horrors and the effects the stories will have on them. Our lives are in danger and we live in constant fear. Who is going to be next?"
"What saddens us is that nobody is listening to us and helping to make our environment safe. Often it is our young dropout children who are the ones pointing the gun, hurting or robbing the next person. Many of those learners could not be placed in the only School of Skills in our area and now they roam the streets. We have failed those children," said another.
The Lavender Hill community needs urgent intervention before this community becomes a no-go zone. There are thousands of innocent folk who depend on all the parties - the schools and their parents, the education department, Social services, Department of Sports and Culture, SAPS, the CPF, the NGOs, religious organizations - EVERYBODY- that need to mobilize and help the Lavender Hill community take back their area from the gangsters.
Lavender Hill needs hashtag #Save Lavender Hill Community now.