Symphony Way residents live in harmony

14 04 2008

Tanya Farber
April 11 2008 at 04:01PM
Source: IOL

In Symphony Way, where the evicted Delft residents take pride in their pavement-based community, life is all about making a plan.

Pulling up a chair for a guest means fetching an old wooden box or a tin drum.

And when it comes to the youngest members of the community, nobody shies away from innovative thinking.

For resident Jane Roberts, known as Aunty Jane to all her neighbours, a community creche is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter how makeshift it might be, or if it pops up on a different section of the pavement each morning, because there are more than 200 toddlers needing care.

“In our community, there are some moms and dads who work, but even for the many that don’t, it is better for the kids to be together socialising,” she says.

With no proper structure as yet, it is difficult for her and the other volunteers to make it fully functional but when a donated container that has been promised arrives and when the structure made from found objects is big enough, they are hoping to also provide aftercare for those at primary school, and homework supervision for those at high school.

“The teachers are all volunteers and we call it our community creche. If I’ve got something, I bring it for the children.

We can’t ask the parents because they don’t have anything. We have no sponsors and only a few toys have been donated, but we are from the struggle. We know what it is to struggle. We can manage,” says Aunty Jane.

Monique Adriaanse, who also offers help to the little ones, says: “We don’t want to go cap in hand to the government because they don’t want us here in the first place. We just want the moms to be satisfied and the little children to be happy.”

For the older children attending primary and high school, life in pavement shacks has not stopped the adults from making sure they have transport.

“We make a plan for them to get to school,” says resident Jerome Daniels, who is also a leader in the Anti-Eviction Campaign. “Kenny the plumber takes some of them in his bakkie.”

In true Symphony Way style, Kenny the plumber is also Kenny the driver and on Friday and Saturday nights he hosts his karaoke evenings.

But, on any week day, the music you’re most likely to hear is the evangelical wailing of Harold Long who moves along the street with his old loudhailer on his decorated bike.

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23 08 2011
‘Put your shoes into my shoes and wear me like a human being’: A community of Pavement Dwellers writes its own book « The Children of South Africa

[...] violence, dysfunctional relationships, anger, illiteracy, and unemployment – were able to build a strong, safe and caring community. Not only did they stomp out crime, ensure their children went to school, and create a community [...]




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