Pinkster Protestant Church’s clergy held a thanksgiving ceremony to acknowledge the role-players who took part in bringing peace to the community of Ottery.
Pastor Jonathan Africa said the police and community police forum (CPF) as well as principals are playing a vital role in uplifting and safeguarding the area so they wanted to show their gratitude to them.
Pastor Africa said they invited the heads of the different institutions but not everyone could attend the service.
“We invited principals from surrounding schools. Benjamin Pietersen of Lotus High came and he spoke about keeping children in school.”
Mr Pietersen told Southern Mail that “together we do make a difference in the lives of our people.
“Parents need to take ownership of their homes and parenthood. Children will test the boundaries but will also soon realise the limitations. Parents and all adults need to take their responsibilities seriously and guide our youth towards structures and activities which will consume the space of boredom and nothingness. By getting involved with their school life and showing an interest in other activities adults minimise the opportunities for negative activities,” said Mr Pietersen.
Pastor Africa said the meeting was to “focus on the positive side of Ottery and how we can mobilise (neighbouring) areas such as Parkwood and Lotus River as well.”
Christo Williams, community leader of Africa Jam, in Ottery, said the service providers and residents of Ottery played a role in bringing change to the area. “The gang violence and shootings have subsided and the reason why the service was arranged, was to show that we are grateful for the collective effort of all including our residents in our community, such as our grandmothers, fathers and mothers who played a part in where we are now as a community.”
Mr Williams said the previously known gangsters have also had a change of heart. “They took a stand to say they are a part of the community and they wanted to contribute to this community.
“There is a lot of room for improvement in Ottery’s development but there is a conversation going and a spark for change and that is what we embrace. We are grateful for our Creator for giving us the wisdom across religions that there is more to life than negativity.”
Philip Bam, spokesperson for the Grassy Park CPF, said he was invited but it was too short notice and he was sorry that he couldn’t make it. “When
I received the call late in the week I indicated that I might not be able to make it. However, if I could I would have been there.”
Mr Bam said he thought the initiative was a good thing. “I don’t look for recognition but do appreciate people’s expression of gratitude. I serve without seeking any reward or recognition.”