Keith Alfred Adolph Blake, Ottery
I’m writing this letter so that residents in their respective neighbourhoods become empowered by making use of the available resources for different issues they may have.
The new trend for a number of years is for the neighbours to build a physical wall around their homes. The only time one gets a sight of their neighbours is when there is a crime or a crisis that effects them.
Then very briefly there is communication but with no outstretched hand of introduction. This door is only opened to a very limited space that keeps even one’s foot or rather shoe in the road.
Crime is the small key that allows neighbours to get together in crime prevention exercises. It would seem crime makes the neighbours talk because they need that free assurance of extra visible patrols in the form of the neighbourhood watch.
Since I moved to my home in Ottery on June 1 1981 I made it my business to know what is happening in my neighbourhood.
Everybody who stayed around me knew I was first with my choice of uniforms, first a member of the South African Railway Police and later, till I took early pension in 2008, a member of the South African Police Services. I got to know who my councillor was and I communicate via email with him on issues I see or hear about.
I began so bold that I wrote to the premier or the mayor of the Western Cape on many issues and I got responses to my requests. My biggest passion and to write to the newspapers on many issues and this brought me much recognition and to be blunt, fame.
Due to these letters from 2010 to 2017 three hundred and five have been published and these letters have encouraged neighbours outside my neighbourhood to approach me with their issues.
The point I want to make is that you cannot live behind close doors and big walls and then put your head like the ostrich in the sand.
No, you have to know your neighbour, know your councillor, know your police station, know who of the neighbours are activists, know who of your neighbours are professionals like police officers, attorneys, doctors or nurses, etc, but most of all, know which neighbour you can depend or rely on.
This recipe I have applied and as I mentioned, being inquisitive, I am as my own neighbour is, informed of the issues effecting me and my neighbourhood.Treat all neighbours the same no matter whether they are living in a mansion with an imported car, a small house with a small old model car or living in a shack pushing maybe a trolley. Treat them as you want to be treated then you are truly an intelligent neighbour.