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Lasting peace not achieved in Hangberg September 22, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town, Politics.
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Last night, I was privileged to be asked to provide musical accompaniment at the 1 year commemoration service of violence that erupted in Hangberg.


Hangberg is an underprivileged community in Hout Bay, a suburb of Cape Town. Some of the residents had built makeshift dwellings on a firebreak on the slope of the Sentinel, which belongs to the City and SA National Parks. When the city’s anti-land invasion unit moved in to remove the illegal structures, violence erupted. Some people were seriously injured in the ensuing fracas, and everyone was permanently scarred.

One year later, to the day, a peace accord was signed between the Peace and Mediation Forum (representing the community) and the City of Cape Town, led by the mayor, Patricia de Lille.
In the interfaith service, remembering the events that unfolded the previous year, you couldn’t help but feel that Hangberg is a community crying out to be heard. People still are in pain over the terrible events that transpired that fateful day. While the posters that were on display expressed the extremity of the community’s anger
 (And, it must be said, not everyone agreed with the wording of some of the posters), it was clear that, whatever was agreed in the peace accord, does not have this community’s full blessing. The Cape Argus has an article on the accord here.
Whatever the future will hold for this loving, yet broken community, it is clear that the peace accord has not yet provided a sustainable, lasting peace for them. At times during the service, that emotion was so prevalent, you couldn’t help but feel it yourself.
Let’s hope that all the role players in this matter realise the vast potential for a positive collaboration and transformation, and next year, when hopefully I will be asked to play again, the service will be one filled with unspeakable joy.
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