Saadiqah Ganief, deputy chairperson, Grassy Park Youth Desk Crime Prevention Unit
The Grassy Park Youth Desk Crime Prevention Unit is urging our communities to not participate in the senseless celebration of Guy Fawkes.
Guy Fawkes instils fear and anxiety in many youth and children. It has been for years an issue as November 5 is a dreaded day to go to school. We have students refusing to attend because of safety concerns. Youth fear being smeared with paint or having eggs or other things thrown at them.
Families battling to make ends meet can’t simply replace ruined school clothing or eggs that may well have been a meal for the next few days.
Those smearing others with paint sometimes put blades between their fingers to hurt others; people are hit with stone-filled socks; battery acid and other dangerous chemicals are thrown at people; cars, buses and taxis are stoned; and groups prowl the neighbourhood armed with hockey sticks and other makeshift weapons, instilling fear in young and old.
Respect goes out the window, and adults coming from work fear crossing the road because they see the children waiting to throw things at them and chase after them. There have been many cases in the Grassy Park area where children have been badly injured because of Guy Fawkes.
Firecrackers are set off illegally in residential areas and thrown at people. The noise of the crackers also causes suffering for animals.
The City of Cape Town has not yet allocated demarcated areas for lighting fireworks and we hope it doesn’t because of the associated dangers. Guy Fawkes should be stopped.
As youth, we are calling for a stand against this celebration and for people to join forces and call for it to be banned.
The sad thing is that our youth are not even taught the true history of Guy Fawkes. Education is power, let’s change our communities with positivity.