Ben Brooks, Fish Hoek
I am a relative newcomer to Fish Hoek, but I have a growing love and respect for this unique corner and community.
The meeting on Tuesday March 20 to discuss security issues enhanced those feelings.
We certainly face huge problems and concerns, but the togetherness that was apparent that evening shows that there are many positives, and this is a brief attempt to underline some of them and to suggest some steps for the future.
The turnout was massive, and the focus was on what we can do, not what “they” should be doing.
There must have been over a thousand people at the meeting. Imagine what could be achieved if each one of them set out to make a positive difference, no matter how small. And then persuaded five friends or relatives to do the same.
A report in the Echo (“Valley safety and security under the spotlight,” Echo March 22) provided a succinct summary of the meeting; this is merely my personal response.
Speakers mentioned the importance of neighbourhood watches and other community groups. That was reassuring as were the number of hands raised when we were asked who belonged to such groups. This represents a strong foundation for the future.
Although the meeting was called at short notice many prominent leaders attended. Premier Helen Zille was the first speaker. She was objective, concise, concerned, clear and informed. Other speakers provided further insights and suggestions. We are fortunate to have such people in charge of various groups and services. They stressed that they were there to listen and outlined channels of communication for future interaction. We are well led.
The meeting was not restricted to one community. Representatives from other areas in the far south also attended, and Ms Zille had already spoken to interested and involved parties in Ocean View and Masiphumelele. Much is already being done, but we can do much more if we work together in the interests of all.
My suggestion is that we share the good news and that the Echo calls for articles which summarise initiatives which are currently in place.
There are scores of these, some are led by churches, others by businesses, others by community groups. Some improve the lives of hundreds, others have less impact but are equally commendable.
In this centenary year, it would be uplifting to read about at least one such activity every week. Thus the generosity and positive approach of this community could be enhanced, replicated and celebrated.
The day after that meeting was Human Rights Day. We happened to be at the beach at noon and were entranced by a group of musicians, singers and dancers who were entertaining the patrons at the Bistro and many others who had stopped to listen and to have fun. They are the Khoisan Singers from Ocean View and they performed a variety of numbers.
All our indigenous languages and customs (as well as some from neighbouring countries) were fea-tured. It was wonder-filled. There was no charge, it was yet another example of the generosity and community spirit of Herbie and Mathea Eichel.
While revelling in the togetherness of that gathering I wondered how many of the audience remembered or even knew about Sharpeville. And when the group sang and danced Gimme Hope Jo’anna, I felt uplifted.
We have come such a long way. If we work together to lighten the burdens, replace fear with hope and share more generously we will
extend the ubuntu that makes Fish Hoek unique. We have so much to celebrate. Let’s do it. Together.