Media: Pavement life blights kids’ life at school

13 03 2009

March 13, 2009 Edition 1
NOMANGESI MBIZA
Source: Cape Argus

Spending a year living on the pavement and the threat of eviction are taking their toll on the 175 children of Delft’s Symphony Way, who are having difficulty concentrating at school

Their performances have been adversely affected by their harsh living conditions and insecurity about their future, said Anti-Eviction Campaign spokeswoman Jane Roberts.

“They can’t focus on their school work because their minds are on being evicted and they keep wondering when they will get houses,” she said.

“They keep thinking about when police will come and destroy their homes after throwing them out.”

Roberts said their only hope was to get houses where they would feel like normal children.
The residents of Symphony Way, who last year were forced to move from the N2 Gateway homes they had illegally occupied, do not want to move to a temporary area nearby designated by the government, which they claim is a “shackland” and “unsafe.”

Nadine Watson is one of the newest residents of Symphony Way.

the tiny child was born four months ago with Down Syndrome and things have not been easy for her mother, Washiela Watson, who has five other children

and three foster children. Watson became a foster parent after her brother and his wife died in an alleged arson attack.
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She said she was “shattered” when she received news about her daughter’s condition but eventually accepted it.

“It was very hard at first” to come to terms with it, Watson said.

Watson said Nadine had become a very special member of the pavement community.

The little girl had to have a heart operation and spent her first few months in hospital.

“She was not picking up weight and doctors discovered a hole in her heart,” she said.

Watson said all she wanted was a warm home for her daughter this coming winter.

“The pastor came and prayed for us and the community has been very supportive.

“All I want now is a home for my baby,” she said.

More than 700 members of Symphony Way have served the city lawyers and the Western Cape High Court with individual notices of intention to defend the action to evict them.

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