Southern Mail a ‘faithful friend’

Paul Phillips, Voice of Parkwood

More than 30 years back I was delivered as a baby by a “vroedvrou” in a shanty town called Parkwood Estate. My father and mother were respectively deaf and semi blind. I was registered ethnic “Kaapse Kleurling”, which means a sub-ordinate of a “supreme” race and “destined to serve” the master and madam as my parents would call them. That was then. Times have moved on and so has the community.

Parkwood Estate have moved on from the sandy untarred roads, the wood and iron houses, the coal stoves and “gellies”, from the “milky” who delivers the milk to your doorstep, the fish monger who blew the horn, from the hawker with the horse and cart to the church bells calling the congregants to worship. Men used to take off their hats when the funeral procession moved passed, the skollies would run away when the police made their appearance, and how can I forget the special times of caring and sharing during Ramadaan and Christmas?

The smell of koeksisters on a Sunday morning, the “wortel and ertjie” food after the men return from the “koebus” (graveyard) and the arrival of the black and white television set. Then came the local printed community newspaper like the Southern Mail.

At every delivery of the paper you would see people sitting in the sun, in the train, on the bus, at the clinic or barber reading a copy with great interest, then the lekker skinner stories of who and what.

Today I’m still in Parkwood, rooted and unable to walk away from being a servant of my people. Leaders have come and gone, so have politicians and ward councillors, but the Southern Mail is still around.

As chairperson of Voice of Parkwood, and a community worker, my vision is to see our community “living “again, living as caring and sharing citizens, rooted in strong family values and principles, role-models for our youth and children to look up to and leading by example, redress of past disadvantages, authorities better resourced and funded to tackle and address the burning issues of crime and gangsterism, poverty, unemployment and all other social ills. Just a better community with a better outlook on life.

In all our endeavours, as we labour and strive to make the dream come true, it is good to know that you still have faithful partners who understand, participate and support. Thank you Southern Mail for being such a friend.