Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk aims to create safer spaces for young people

Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk team from left are Keanan Basson, Menecia Gates and chairman Jayden Gabriels from Tafelsig.

Local youths have taken it upon themselves to work with their peers to ensure they do not fall victim to the social ills which plague Mitchell’s Plain.

As part of its work, on Thursday February 10, the Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk team spoke to young people in Tafelsig about the issues affecting their community and the help they are offering the youth.

The forum is being assisted by Hyde Park neighbourhood watch member, Fayrouz Kelly, the grandmother of the late Ayesha Kelly. Ayesha who died when a stray bullet struck her in her back outside a tuckshop about 500m from her home in Oudekloof Street, on Sunday December 8 2019 (Caught in the crossfire, “Plainsman December 11 2019”).

Chairman of the Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk Jayden Gabriels, 16, from Tafelsig, said he is passionate about young people.

At the gathering at the Oudekloof Street field, Jayden told the youngsters: “Our young people, my generation, should stay away from crime, gangsterism and doing activities that could badly affect their future. Our youth need to be kept safe and sound.”

“This is my youth. I want to help them achieve and realise their dreams, their goals and not drop-out of school.

“Gangsters run over this field. One minute children are playing, the next bullets are flying across the field. This is not fair. We are the future. A fence around this field would help so much as well as more equipment for activities to keep children busy and off the streets,” said Jayden.

Parents also have a huge role to play in this matter, said Jayden, emphasising that they should also take responsibility for their children and guide them.

And, said Jayden: “We would like to join forces with our ward councillors so that we have a strong relationship to fight crime affecting young people.”

Chairman of the Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk, Jayden Gabriels from Tafelsig spoke to the youth of Tafelsig on issues affecting them.

Cape Flats Safety Forum Youth Desk member Menecia Gates informed the youth on the issue of gender-based violence and that they are able to assist where they can.

“This issue affects us all. We want to help as much as we can. Young people experience abuse in the home which can affect their lives. They can come to us and speak to us if they need help,” said Menecia.

“We are the now. We are the leaders of tomorrow and we are more than capable to lead, be leaders and create a future we want to see,” she said.

Ms Kelly said she had met Jayden through community meetings and recalled that he had been vocal on issues affecting young people in the community, especially the Hyde Park area in Tafelsig.

“Jayden has a heart for young people. I admire what he does for these children. I see what is happening in our community, we need leaders like him in our area,” said Ms Kelly.

“We would like this forum to be a stepping stone for help in this issue. The shootings also affect children playing in the park. Children should be free to play and use the spaces they want. We will continue to work to make this better,” said Ms Kelly.

Andrea Van Wyk, 16, from Tafelsig was at the gathering on Thursday February 10.

“Jayden is speaking to the issues affecting us daily. We are grateful to have someone in our age group speak for us. The young people are on the ground experiencing these crimes. We want to be a part of the change, and fixing the problem. We look forward to the future,” said Andrea.

The Cape Flats Safety Forum is calling on youth, aged 18 to 29, to join their Mitchell’s Plain youth desk. They want to save lives, keep youth away from gangsterism, drugs and crime. The desk is there for youth to speak about crime issues, to build relationships and to share employment opportunities in and around the Cape Flats. They also want to address high school dropout rates and help uplift their peers. All youth wanting to make a change in their lives, to keep busy off the streets and develop themselves must sign up by sending a WhatsApp text to 060 812 4070 or email jayden.communities2022@gmail.com