Looking back on 50 years

Johann Kikillus, Ocean View

Over the past eight years, I have had the privilege of speaking to thousands of Ocean View residents.

Unfortunately due to the nature of my work a large number of these conversations have been about heartache, pain and disappointment.

Over the years I have listened to the stories of the senior residents about their lives back in the days before they were forcibly moved to a piece of ground in the middle of nowhere called Slangkop.

Growing up in the 1980s in the southern suburbs I was aware of the atrocities of apartheid, but never would I have imagined though that the legacy would continue more than two decades into the “New” South Africa. Many evenings I have gone home feeling quite hopeless after hearing these stories. I have seen elderly people cry as though they were moved yesterday.

This coming Saturday, September 29 there is going to be a remembrance day, marking 50 years since the removals started. It’s been 50 years, yet I cannot help but observe that very little has changed for this community.

In fact, over the past eight years, I have watched things deteriorate. I have lost count of the number of politicians arriving in their fancy cars and give well-polished speeches, only to disappear again and then nothing materialises of any significance.

Business has moved out and the money has left as well. There is an increase in the number of poor, desperate and starving people coming to the Care Centre every week.

There will be those in government who will disagree with my assessment, but they do not come here every day and see the struggles.

They are very far removed. In order to heal and fix the past injustices will require the help of all South Africans. I appeal to all communities in the far south to assist in building Ocean View again. We also have to hold those in government more accountable.