By Golda Meyer
The plight of more than 200 Pretoria city-centre residents who were left destitute after recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in the area, gave birth to a joint relief movement called #ServeYourCity.
Various NGO’s and churches teamed up with the city management to find solutions to the disaster and inhumane circumstances these people, especially in Marabastad, were left in. Members from Tshwane metro police, emergency services, disaster relief management department and the community and social development department, all worked together to help them.
Ilonka Esterhuyse from the Fearless Love Foundation and Martin Peters coordinated relief efforts and helped to distribute donations to victims of shack fires. These efforts were enough to supply the affected group with food, water and blankets for a week.
The Dare-To-Love movement of volunteers also stepped in and organised a massive effort on Saturday September 7. They orchestrated an event bringing several volunteer movements, foundations and churches together to help out. The main goal was to clean the streets and teach the homeless to grow fresh vegetables in simple hydroponic systems.
There are foreigners in both groups affected by the violence in Marabastad. These groups are referred to by the areas they occupy — Marabastad Village and Marabastad Jazz Square. To the volunteers it became clear that the root cause of the violence was drug-related and that the xenophobia was simply a byproduct that sparked fire through fear-mongering in social media.
#ServeYourCity is taking great care to inspire self-sustainability among the two groups by planting gardens in both their’ zones.
“To help someone means to set them free, spiritually and economically,” says Daryl Hardy, co-founder of the Dare-To-Love movement. “Apathy, entitlement and laziness is a mindset that needs to be broken through serving. It is important to train the poor to become economically independent, through skills development to enhance their income and development of micro businesses.”
The city and its communities are invited to join an action outreach of #ServeYourCity this Saturday (September 14) at 6am at McDonalds, Skinner Street, Pretoria central under the leadership of the Dare-To-Love movement.
To obtain a list of critical items needed for the disaster areas, contact Immanuel Landman, 083 458 4064, pastor of the ELIM Full Gospel Church in Brooklyn.
Donations can be made at: Account Name: TLF Akanani, Nedbank, branch code 160445, Account Nr: 1101237473. SWIFT code: NEDSZAJJ, Reference: ServeYourCity.