Tag Archives: ThamiDishFoundation

Reclaiming our villages!

12 Jan


I come from a village called Phokeng. Phokeng is situated in the North West province and approximately 30 kilometres from the main town, Rustenburg. Unfortunately I was not brought up in the region as I was taken by my mother to Johannesburg at an early age, three months to be exact. Growing up I had limited access to my home and in my late thirties I made the brave move to pack up my city life and move home to work on my relationship with my parents and get to know my heritage. Through this journey of self discovery, I unravelled alarming facts about the region and the surrounding villages.

Phokeng and the surrounding areas boasts beautiful landscapes of rolling hills, set against the platinum mines. With breath taking sunsets and high temperatures, life there still follows along the village way, the sense of ubuntu shines bright as each family knows who everyone is and who lives where. With that when a child is seeing walking around the streets or at the shops or tavern, everyone know whether or not they are working, successful , have an extended family etc. During my time there, I noticed that the level of unemployment amongst youth is very high, I noticed the increase of taverns in the area.

Two years back when I was out of the country, my Rakgadi, my aunty from fathers side was attacked in her home, she was in her eighties at the time. For some reason I was not made aware of the attack and only learnt of it upon my return back to SA, which was a few months after the attack. By that time, time had lapsed. According to reports, that had found the perpetrator and had let him go. There was speculation that he was a youth from the area and was on Nyope.
What is Nyope? It is a home-made drug that has been ravaging the youths of South Africa especially in the crowded townships in the country, but what is whoonga, or nyaope as it is commonly known in the streets? Whoonga is a new and deadly drug which is slowly but surely destroying young South Africans in the townships and dusty rural villages. This drug was first reported in Kwazulu Natal, Durban to be specific and has since spiraled across the country with Gauteng now the hardest hit.
Whoonga (Nyaope), is a concoction of many substances that includes but are not limited to rat poison, battery acid, soap powder and even HIV/Aids medication anti-retroviral drugs. Whoonga is distributed as a very fine white powder which the users usually mix with marijuana or tobacco. When the drug is smoked, it is said to have an immediate impact on the taker and whoonga is said to be one of the most lethal drugs in the world. Source: http://www.ahp.org.za/news-detail/87/whoonga-the-cruellest-drug

Regarding the attack, I tried to get the case back on the roll but then Rakgadi passed away. I believe from the trauma that she suffered from the attack.
Other attacks and crimes have been reported within the villages and created a heightened sense of fear amongst our mothers and grand mothers of the area.
For example my mother creates a make shift security system at home. All the outside doors have security gates, but before sleeping my mum creates a make shift obstacle course by placing a chair against the door, with a metal cup balancing on the chair. When I questioned her on her method, she said it was to alert her should somebody break through the security door. A few years back, this was not the case.

So why are the youth committing crimes? They need money to feed their habits. Where do they get their drugs from? This then leads me to the outbreak that has occurred in the Rustenburg town.

On Wednesday 10 January 2018, violent eruptions resulted in the torching of several buildings, in Rustenburg town, alleged to be brothels and drug dens.
Taken from http://www.enca.co.za:
The Mayor of Rustenburg Mpho Khunou says one of the reasons why drug trafficking and prostitution is still so rife in the municipality is because repeat offenders tend to be released on bail every time.
The mayor says the city is also aware of the involvement of some police officers in local crime syndicates.
Khunou says while this is true, not all police officers are guilty.

Standing outside one of the burned down buildings in Rustenburg, Khunou says efforts are being made to root out known brothels.
“We want to reiterate that as the city, we don’t believe that all police officers are part of this. There are of course some rotten apples.”
Khunou says the focus has been on drug trafficking and not so much the idea that it’s foreign nationals running the illegal dealings.
“Indeed some of the houses where the activities are taking place belong to the South Africans, there are South Africans who are part of this. So we must not think that drug trafficking is only done by foreign nationals.”
He says the anger displayed by the community is understood but highlights support by government is being given.

One of the other issues within the villages and province is the high rate of hate crimes and attacks on the LGBTQI communities. Last week I heard the devastating news of somebody whom I had the honour of knowing, Kagiso Ishmael Maema. Kagiso was a 25-year-old transgender woman from Seraleng in Rustenburg, was discovered on Saturday, January 6.
Taken from http://www.mambaonline.com:

Maema, who preferred to be called Ousi Kagiso, is believed to have left home on Friday evening between 8.30 and 9.00 PM. She was last seen in the company of an unknown man at Eddy’s Tavern.
The two ordered drinks in the tavern and then went out to buy ‘bunny chows’ to eat. Maema’s dumped half-naked body was found in a stream the next day by a herdsman.
She was partially covered with plastic and had wounds on her head and arm, which appeared to have been caused by an axe. It is also suspected that she was strangled.
“Kagiso’s mother is not well. She loved her child,” Tsotetsi told Mambaonline. The unexpected death will have both a deep emotional and material impact on her family.

“Kagiso was an IT student who finished her studies and who was looking for a job,” said Tsotetsi. “The mother is not working and she expected Kagiso to assist the family [as a breadwinner].”

The killing is the third incident in the last few weeks involving members of the LGBTI community, and the second in the North West province.
Married lesbian couple Anisha (30) and Joey van Niekerk (32) were reportedly tortured, raped, murdered and set alight, allegedly by seven people in Mooinooi, near Rustenburg.
On the 1st of January, 23-year-old Noxolo Mabona was stabbed to death during an allegedly homophobic altercation in Strand, outside of Cape Town.
“There is a pattern of murder of LGBTI people around the country,” said Tsotetsi. “We are being targeted. This is very worrying for the LGBTI community and activists.”
A murder case has been opened with the Boitekong Police Station. There have as yet been no arrests.

So I plead that we all try and assist where necessary as it is evident that we need to reclaim our villages for our heritage , the communities living there and especially for our mothers and grandmothers who are living in fear.

If the police are not doing their jobs, raise the alarms, put it on social media, let it be heard. These senseless killings and pain needs to come to an end.

It is time to reclaim our villages.

For assistance with LGBQTI issues: http://www.thamidish.com
For assistance with domestic violence: http://www.powa.co.za
To share stories, please use my blog. http://www.roseimoteneblog.wordpress.com