Friday, September 18, 2009

Reviewing the Civic Mapping Excercise 1

Wednesday 16th September 2009
Mini-group 1
Lisa Brigham and Dominique Little

Today we went into Kings Flats, known to the residents as extension 6, to start our civic mapping. We previously held a group meeting to delegate team roles and discuss how to approach the residents.

After splitting into mini-teams Dom and myself interviewed several residents who were willing to talk to us. Many of them were concerned with crime and were afraid to let their children play outside and alone.

Dom got some initial photographs of the area to aid us in getting a description of extension 6 and I felt that we got better at interviewing the residents as we moved on.It should be interesting to see what the rest of the team got in terms of interviews and information in our next meeting on Friday before our tutorial.

Mini-Group 2
Andrew Wassung and Simone Landers

Simone and I walked around, speaking to locals about issues they are confronting, most importantly of which is crime.

Everyone we talked to expressed grave concerns about the amount of crime going on most nights after dark, but especially on weekends.

We were told that the police, although situated right down the road, hardly ever make an appearance when called and only sometimes patrol the area. Two or three people caught our interest specifically and some did not want to be named having spoken about criminals, gangs and crime in general.

The area all around the local shebeen, which seems to be the cause of most of the violence, is full of glass bottles that provide stabbing tools for those doing crime. Some residents reported fears of letting their children even walk around, especially in the evenings. Women living at home alone or in a women-only household, expressed lots of fear and reports of drunk men breaking in and raping women seemed much to common.

Mini-Group 3
Zikhona Tshona and Carileigh Hansen

Cari and I walked around the area where the tavern is, interviewing people about crime in the area.

All of the people that we spoke to did say that they do not feel safe walking around the streets, stating that crime is in fact high in this area. As with the group above, people also mentioned that police service is completely unsatisfactory in the area. People said that the police would either not respond at all or take to long to do so, one woman also said that police would not come because of a shortage in vehicles to respond to crimes. A young girl whom we spoke to also said that in some cases, the community would take the issue of dealing with perpetrators of crime in their own hands, by beating them up.

A young man that we spoke to told us that a lot of crime in this area takes place in front of the tavern especially over weekends. He said that crime in this area is often done by young people known by the community. In most cases it’s basically an issue of “if the criminals know you, you are safe; if they don’t, you’re not”.

We also spoke to a shop owner, who said that in his business, crime is usually high around pension days, where long queues make the area an easy target for robbery. He also said that it is often very difficult for people to report crimes, because they may feel insecure about doing so or often people in the community might say that people allow criminal activities to happen to them. We also found out that there is a street forum in the community which deals with the issue of crime. This forum is headed by a woman, whom we managed to speak to; she has also agreed to organise a focus group meeting for us on Wednesday at 18:00.

Mini-Group 4
Guy Martin et al

Most people that we spoke to are concerned about crime. The Bangladeshi shop owners, for instance, have been robbed many times and were very heated when discussing how much of their property had been damaged due to theft.

The schoolchildren we spoke to were also concerned about crime and the fact that the do not feel safe when they are alone - one girl even told how she was being stalked by an older man.Another important issue is a lack of facilities in the area, such as sports fields. There is little to do, especially for the youth and as a result many turn to crime.

Mini-Group 5
Debra Liebenberg et al

Although Kings Flats is just a few kilometers away from Grahamstown, the differences between these two area's were noticeable straight away. In Grahamstown people use threatening "hi-tech security" signs and barbed wire to keep any possible attackers or thieves away. Most people in this area seem to be adamant about securing their homes and possessions which is why doors are closed, gates are locked and curtains are drawn.

When you walk down the street people cling onto their bags and try desperately not to make eye-contact. It seems that Grahamstonians are essentially isolating themselves from their community due to their own fears of crime. Although Kings Flats (in comparison to Grahamstown) has many more instances of crime the vibe in this area is alot more welcoming.While residents in this area seem to be aware of taking safety measures to secure their belongings they are not nearly as anal about it as Grahamstonians.

Instead of barbed wire and "hi-tech" signs, they have fences intertwined with thorn tree branches and stray dogs. I was amazed at how many people left their homes wide open to anyone who wished to enter. When my group and I first explored this area we were never stopped or questioned when we entered private residential homes. Instead we were welcomed and invited to sit down and talk. While walking along the streets most people made the effort to greet us with a smile and when we were lost people were happy to give directions.

One woman that we spoke to went so far as to warn us that we should not leave the car alone that we had travelled in. There is definately a stronger sense of community within Kings flats which is probably largely owed to the fact that the police designated to control this area allegedly dont do their jobs. Some shop owners told us of how their shop had been robbed three times and even though they were able to identify the victims the police made no effort to bring any justice. Other home owners told us that they had to wait three hours after calling the police for them to arrive and subsequently do nothing.

If the police are not willing to help these people who will be? It is therefore no suprise that there seems to be a strong sense of community as if the police wont protect these people they have only but eachother to turn to.

No comments:

Post a Comment