Support event for traumatised women

Melonie van Nelson with the photographs of her two sons who were shot and killed in crossfire.

A Steenberg mother who lost two of her sons in crossfire in 2018 will be launching a fund-raiser themed “Seerkry van ’n moeder” (Heartache of a mother) at the Steenberg Community Hall, on Saturday March 11, for women who have experienced trauma in their lives.

Melonie van Nelson’s son Courtney Jackson, 16, was shot and killed on his way to the shop not far from his home in Sonata Street, Steenberg, on March 10 in 2018.

He was one of two people hit in a drive-by shooting and died on his way to hospital (“Mother honours teen victim”, Southern Mail, March 24 2021).

On January 15 last year, Ms Van Nelson’s other son Keagan Jackson, 27, was shot at the same spot where Courtney was shot in Sonata Street.

She decided to help feed the community in Courtney’s memory and started a feeding scheme, Arise and shine community outreach project in 2019. “I then got in contact with more mothers whose innocent children were killed. We shared that hurt and started the organisation to help children to seek a better life than the gang life. At the moment things are out of hand in our communities so we want to bring about change.”

Four mothers, at the time after Courtney’s death, supported each other to raise funds to feed the neighbouring children.

“In June we had an event in the circle in Sonata Street where we fed children, had a modelling show and gave party gifts to them.

“In October we had another event for children where we gave them party packs. We also had a bus trip for young and old to Maidens Cove.”

Natheema Moses-Hopp, one of the women who supports Ms Van Nelson, whose son Ghaalieb Moses died after he was stabbed 11 years ago, said she was approached by Ms Van Nelson and she immediately thought it was a “great idea”.

“I did get a lot of support from my family when my son died but some women are scared to talk. So, we encourage the next person to talk and we also meet people who have been through similar experiences.”

Councillor Marita Petersen said she is aware of Ms Van Nelson’s initiative and supports it. “I will be calling Ms Van Nelson to complete the application for free use of the Steenberg Community Hall. Also I hope to attend.”

For more information about the event or to donate, contact Ms Van Nelson on 078 917 5664.