Manenberg is a community in Cape Town that I have grown to love.
It’s a community full of hope, but plagued by significant difficulties. High levels of school drop outs and (therefore fairly inevitably) high unemployment rates, prevailing gang presence, and drugs being bought and sold on most street corners – these are some of the challenges Manenberg faces. However, this is juxtaposed with friendliness, a strong sense of community, and some of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet.
Manenberg shouldn’t exist. It was built by the apartheid government during the 1960’s-1970’s, to house ‘non-whites’ previously living in District 6, an area in the city bowl. In a sense, it remains today a monument to racism – a 96% ‘Cape Coloured’ community out on the Cape Flats, more often than not still bearing the brunt of caricatured, blinkered media coverage.
One of the best and worst things about pursuing and praying for transformation in Manenberg is the sheer number of people who say it simply cannot be done. Some days you wake up and revel in how stupid that comment is, other days you find yourself wondering.
Ultimately, for me, Manenberg is Home.