After several days of protesting and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, residents from different townships have started multiple initiatives to rebuild their communities under the Cleanup South Africa Campaign.  By Deekay Ndoni Sibanda

 

Taxi owners and artists are taking to the streets and malls, working together in unlikely ways to assist communities that have been affected by several days of looting and violent protests in South Africa.  DJ Shimza, real name Ashley Raphala, a well-known DJ who is loved by many because of his music and creativity, is one of the artists supporting the Clean-Up Campaign. Shimza posted a picture with the Clean Environment NPO on Twitter, writing: “Shout out to the Clean Environment NPO and everyone that played their part in cleaning up our community.”

Many citizens have taken it upon themselves to take a stand to say, “Enough is enough. Hands off our communities.” 

The people of Mzansi  are keeping their spirits up, regardless of the damage which included the burning of buildings and the destroying of properties. This is also expected to lead to job losses for many. At the same time, communities want to see change and are working towards that change by assisting those who have lost their businesses due to this unrest.  

Neo Denise Rapids, the Head of Media and Tree Strategic Officer at Beyond Media, is an organizing volunteer of the Rebuild South Africa campaign. The campaign was started in mid-July by Emelda Masango, along with other groups of volunteers, on a Facebook page called “I know a guy” led by Mbali Ndlovu.

Denise Rapids said, “I am tired of watching South Africa burn. Therefore, I need to be part of this campaign as someone who is working in the media to influence change.” Many other people continue to leave their homes to volunteer during this cold weather, all in the name of rebuilding their communities. 

Nomsa Langa, a nurse at Magagula Clinic and a community member in Vosloorus, raised her concerns about the spread of Covid-19 and the capacity needed from health care workers. She said, “What people are doing in cleaning up the streets is great and I fully support it. However, there are going to be negative implications while we are trying to solve this problem.”  Langa added that those who were behind the protests and destruction of property should be held accountable “for the mess they have caused because people are going to lose their lives and livelihoods.”

Most young people in the area are affected by the protests and looting in one way or another. Xolani Ngoma, a 20-year-old man from Spruitview who joined clean-up efforts, mentioned that it was very sad to see people of his age looting. He added that what was worse, was no one taking responsibility for their actions. He thought some looters must have felt bad and helped with cleaning up in some instances. Ngoma added, “I’m doing this because it’s my choice, no one forced me to do it. I appeal to other young people to reach out as well.”

If you would like to provide support or locate areas in need, kindly follow these hashtags – #CleanUpSA and #Rebuild – and join the Facebook group for more info on the Clean Up SA initiative.

(Image by @Shimza01)