Sakhile a town ship in Standerton Mpumalanga is a place plagued by violence as most
unemployed young people are hooked on to the gangster life style. Some of them are
drug addicts while others are dealers. The last couple of days have been rocked by
shootings and unfortunately, one of the shooting incidents has claimed the life of a
well known businessman, father, brother and bread winner Richard Dlamini (29).
Richard was shot execution style while he was with friends at Thokoza tavern. Eye witnesses
say that he was shot by three men armed with AK47 guns “they shot him repeatedly
insuring that he dies”. Mr. AJ Nkambule the officer on the scene in the aftermath of the
shootings said “we need these eye witnesses to identify the culprits so we can lock
them up where they belong”.
Now the question is how safe are the citizens from this violence? Local residents have
proposed taking matters into there own hands as community leader Mr. T.J Nkosi
expressed, “by beating these thugs we will no longer have this violence. Police have
however assured residents of their safety. Mr. L.P Morale the SAPS captain said “we
will win this battle, we will prevail”. When this rampage will end is unknown. Sakhile
residents are either at war or living in fear of being killed.
THE MEANING BEHIND YOUTH DAY
I spoke to three people from different walks of life in the quest to learn their
understanding of youth day and its significance.
Mr. S.G Suntsah (27), a very successful business man in the construction and
engineering field said, “Youth day for me is a reminder of the great sacrifice by all South
Africans to access all these opportunities that we currently have. Every one especially
young people should strive for excellence to let us get up and smell the coffee and stop
My second interviewee was Mr. L.W Madonsela (63) who was a young person during
1978 and was an apartheid activist. He expressed his views about youth day and its
meaning ” We were comrades, we fought hard for the liberation of our people mostly
the youth and we did play a crucial role to that but it hurts me to see most young people
unemployed and expecting hand outs from the government while so many opportunities
that we did not even know existed are accessible for them. But a few make us proud by
succeeding its heart breaking to learn that now our oppression is poverty and economic
empowerment. Only the youth can bring change.”
Miss C.C Mtshali 26 years old an unemployed I.T Graduate was my last respondent.
She said “l I get why we should celebrate it but for me it’s just another “hoo-hah” holiday
for young people to drink and misbehave while we hard working people who are willing
to contribute to the society are unemployed. I honestly do not know how people who do
not have jobs are expected to be part of these celebrations and historical replay. I get it
and grateful for it but what about the future seriously.”
Those are three different opinions hopefully all the ills will be healed and that the youth
of today will bring change just like youth of 1976.
SUFFER THE POOR IN THE LAND OF BROKEN PROMISES
Slovo village in Sakhile a township in Standerton Mpumala is an informal settlement
where thirty families dwell. This is a devastatingly poor and unsafe place where there
is no proper sanitation and water supply. Residents have to share two clean water taps
and have to travel about six hundred meters near the deep and dangerous Vaal River to
relieve themselves. This is a secluded area for SANTA a TB hospital.
The area is highly dangerous for children who are at risk off drowning in the river and
woman who are vulnerable to rape. Added to this are hazardous conditions as residents
are exposed to TB infected “air” from the nearby SANTA hospital.
“Our municipality seems to have forgotten us. We were promised all good things but
nothing has been delivered, why should we vote then they only remember us when
they need our votes” said Mr. Nkambule, an activist and resident. Khulumani tried to get
comments from the local councilor but our efforts were in vain as we could not locate
them. We did manager to speak to the municipality spokesperson Mr. S Mkhwanazi,
who said, “We have done so much to change peoples lives there is a new section were
proper housing and stands were given to the people freely in Rooikopen, most people
did take advantage but some did not. The residents of Slovo are some of that handful of
people and we are still trying to see how we can help them though”.
It seems as though the municipality and the Slovo village residents are pointing fingers
to one another hopefully there will be an immediate resolution to this problem. In the
meantime the children and women and children continue to suffer.
Articles written by Sifiso P Sithole