The civil unrest that occurred in KZN and parts of Gauteng over the past week, has left lots of damage; physical, monetary, emotional and mental.
Billions of rands worth of damage, jobs at risk due to companies having to shut down and mouring for the +200 families who lost a loved one; are all repercussions of this unrest and whilst all this is very serious and hard on the mind and heart to comprehend… hope in humanity was restored and I consider myself lucky enough to have been able to witness it.
True leadership and a sense of community was displayed in ways that I have never witnessed in Newlands East . All differences; religion, racial, political and domestic were ultimately shoved to one side and one common goal was establish; to guard and protect our community.
Women and men of different ages, colours, creed and religions stood in solidarity at every exit and entry points day and night to protect our community; sometimes for a straight 24,36 and 48 hours. Those of us who worked, stayed up at night to window watch and be the eyes for those on the ground.
Did we have hiccups? Of course! Could some things have been managed a little differently… without a doubt BUT considering how unforeseen this unrest was to the very many of us, I think we did fantastic.
Some of the men and women who stood hours to protect the community didn’t get a chance to do their shopping for essentials thanks to the betrayal of local shops, that our neighbourhood stayed up safe guarding. Rightfully some were angry and others were I guess too exhausted to dwell. Our control was defeated as they worked tirelessly to manage and ensure calm and safety and also to ensure that our people are at the frontline. All this being enough to make most quite and wave the white flag…but that didn’t make us lose steam.
When every obstacle hit together with the exhaustion and frustration, we had community members reminding everyone of the purpose and the goal. We had ladies and men encouraging us all to stay united and reminded us to not concede to the “divide and conquer” plan some had. We have people praying and reminding us that our faith must be larger than our fears.
I’ve never seen my community so united. Neither have seen us so grateful. The words of encouragement helped keep my mental in check. It helped me help my family stay hopeful and I am forever grateful.
There is a silver lining in every dark cloud. We have established ours. The potential we have can move mountains and bring about much needed change. I agree that defence forces and teams should sit by with a note pad and pen and take notes of the solidarity and passion for its people that our men and women have displayed. To note how to communicate and plan strategically. To understand that a community united will never fall.
So to everyone who was out there day and night, to everyone in control, to everyone who offered suggestions, to everyone who used their personal vehicles to transport wood and tyres and basically anything anyone needed, to everyone who supplied resources and refreshments, to everyone who window watched, to everyone who let their family members take that risk to go out and to protect their community and to every one who plugged us to shops, pharmacies and petrol stations that were open I salute you all. I have a new found respect for you all and I pray to the almighty that the sacrifices are rewarded ten times fold when you and your family may need it the most.
Newlands East… a community united indeed. They may have tried to rip us apart instead, they brought us together.
Love and light always, from just an ordinary resident of an extraordinary community… Newlands East.