Building strong communities and leaving a lasting footprint of Unity
Blackburn, eThekwini Municipality, 4th September 2021
Sibaya Community Trust together with other community-based organisations led a day long massive Social Cohesion Initiative reaching out to more than 1000 community residents in Blackburn, the bordering informal settlement of Umhlanga in Ward 35.
“The initiative was important, imperative and necessary” said Mr Vivian Reddy, Chairperson of the Sibaya Community Trust. He went on to state that this project was exceptionally close to his heart.
“The North is a buzzing economic hub where many locals of the Blackburn community also happen to be loyal and capable employees of Sibaya Casino and the major Oceans Development in Umhlanga Rocks which employs 600 residents from the Blackburn neighbourhood.
Many other smaller & larger surrounding businesses also employ staff from this Community.
This community in particular was recently deeply affected by the COVID19 pandemic, social unrest and overall impoverishment; it is therefore our natural social duty to ensure the quality of lives of our people is improved for the better.
We can only do this through consistent engagement with such communities, whether that is through lending support or fostering good relations” continued Mr Reddy.
This initiative was sponsored by Sibaya Community Trust and supported by Food for Life, ACT Foundation, WomanPACT, COMFORT Sanitary Pads Caprini Footwear who sponsored Face Masks, AMAZULU Football Club and a host of volunteers.
The initiative marks the beginning of an ongoing community support program. “We have much to offer our neighbouring Blackburn Community for poverty alleviation, youth development, sport, education, skills training and security. Empowering and protecting women and youth will be the central theme in all of our programs.
The Blackburn Community is as concerned about security as we are.
They have no streetlights and fall prey to criminals after dark” said Mr Sivi Chetty, one of our community champions joining in on the Blackburn HUMANITARIAN project.
AMAZULU Soccer Balls and Tee Shirts will feature in a youth football competition to be held in the coming weeks.
Community members and residents of both communities were able to meet and greet, start conversations, and create linkages between the two neighbouring areas.
At the helm, Sibaya Community Trust donated 1000 5 litre sanitisers as part of their immediate COVID 19 activation to reach the most indigent and vulnerable communities which don’t have access to many primary basics.
In addition, 1000 hot meals were provided by Food for Life, while masks & dignity packs for young girls were also distributed to over 300 young females by ACT Foundation and Woman Pact.
Mr Reddy said “This is just the start of our continued commitment to ensure the community of Blackburn prospers in a real way where the lives of our fellow compatriots are improved in a lasting way. We have bigger plans, are we most certainly will be back to bring more tangible hope.”
“We have embarked on the building of a soup kitchen to cater for the supply of meals to the most vulnerable in the community. This is an initiative undertaken by Sibaya Community Trust and Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom,” add Reddy
“l ran out of words of gratitude to Sibaya Community Trust. The key to a good relationship is to start by caring for each other. This is just a beginning” of creating a long-lasting relationship. between our community and Sibaya Community Trust and other stakeholders. To us this is a blessing, and we appreciate that people care about our wellbeing and l give all my heart that we will take care of whatever that is being delivered to us,” said Kwanele Msizazwe an active Blackburn Community Member.
Another Blackburn Community leader Masiphula Babalo said,
“On Saturday the residents from the side of Mhlanga which is Izinga came to Blackburn to distribute sanitizers and masks, however, also came with hot meals and fruit for our people. They disturbed sanitizers masks, dignity packs and meals to over 1000 people in the Blackburn village. Over 1000 5 litre hand sanitizers were distributed to households.
Part of their engagement was to educate our people on covid 19 and the need to sanitize and stay safe.
The people of the village were very happy and welcomed the program.
There are more plans to engage with our Blackburn Community and we look forward to the programs planned for our children, especially the formation of a soccer team and the handout of soccer balls and T Shirts for them.
Sibaya Community Trust wishes to thank all those organisations, community residents and community leaders who participated to ensure an overwhelmingly successful programme.
Social cohesion is a long process that requires many levels of engagement, dialogue and a journey of healing & rebuilding.