The drowning of a New Woodlands teen united his community and has inspired his peers to make the right decisions.
Imraan Davids,14, was at Mnandi Beach with aunts, uncles and cousins when he disappeared into the sea on Sunday February 6.
His grandmother Fatima Davids, who raised him, thanked all of her neighbours and concerned residents of New Woodlands for attending a candlelight vigil outside their home on Monday February 7.
Volunteers and community workers had been called to assist in the search for Imraan on Sunday afternoon. His body was recovered the next day.
Ms Davids told mourners that her grandson had been looking forward to attending Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills, learning mechanics this year and welding next year. He completed Grade 7 at West End Primary School and had been excited about attending high school.
“It was hard for me to see his school clothes hanging and I became emotional because he cannot wear his uniform this morning,” she told the crowd on Monday night.
Ms Davids said she was shocked to see the crowd outside of her home, on her return from the mortuary, where she had had to identify Imraan.
“He was a very helpful child. A good child. Loved to tease people and (was) humble,” she said.
Community activist Shahiem van Nelson said the community should not wait for a tragedy to unite.
“It is time for the community to get back on track. Your child is my child and my child is your child. Let us take back our community. We don’t want to lose our youth to gangsterism and drugs,” he said.
He implored parents to know where their children were; and who their friends were.
Mr Van Nelson said Imraan was a strong swimmer.
He loved attending the mosque and was due to attend a youth programme at Masjid Al Huda, around the corner from his home, at the weekend.
Ms Davids is a member of the New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association and the local neighbourhood watch.
Ward councillor Joan Woodman said one of their own had been taken from them.
“We are in solidarity with Aunty Fati and her family. We rally around her and we support where we can,” she said.
Good proportional representation (PR) councillor Saul Markgraff said as they stood on the shore soon after heeding the call for help to find Imraan, he had been overwhelmed by the crowd, as he stood alongside Ms Woodman.
He encouraged all of the youth to stand up and salute Imraan because he was one of the good ones and that they should feel his presence at the memorial.
“Start living right here. Take this message of Imraan’s death to your life and salute him because he was one of you,” said Mr Markgraaff.
Patriotic Alliance PR Councillor Marvin Sampson, who was also at the beach until 11pm on Sunday said everyone had rallied together to comb the area, by drone and by foot.
Speaking to the youth on Monday night, he encouraged them to make the right choices in life.
“Life is made by choices you make today and it will determine whether you are going to live tomorrow. Make wise choices,” he said.
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesman Craig Lambinon said Imraan went missing in the surf after appearing to be in some difficulty, while swimming on Sunday.
NSRI’s Strandfontein duty crew was activated at 1.23pm and two rescue crafts were launched, while rescue swimmers and a rescue vehicle also responded.
Members of the City of Cape Town’s water rescue network were activated, their lifeguards and law enforcement officers initiated a search and were joined by the two NSRI rescue craft, NSRI shore crew, Western Cape government health departments emergency and rescue services, SAPS, Netcare 911 ambulance services and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) / Air Mercy Service (AMS) Skymed rescue helicopter was also activated as was the police dive unit.
The search continued overnight and despite an extensive air, sea and shoreline search the teen’s body only surfaced a day later.
Imraan is due to be buried by Islamic rites today, Wednesday February 9, following a backlog of autopsies at the state mortuary.
Mitchell’s Plain police station spokesperson Sergeant Zandi Langa said Imraan’s body was retrieved at about 2.30pm Monday February 7, by SAPS divers and that an inquest docket has been opened.
Anyone with information can call investigating officer Sergeant M Mvimbi on 021 370 1758.