The Northern Areas of Gqeberha

The Coloured identity in South Africa has been massacred and annihilated from beginning to end. Gangsterism and the modus operandi of gang warfare has taken over the sub-economic areas of the Northern Areas in Gqeberha.

The Coloured identity in South Africa has been massacred and annihilated from beginning to end. Gangsterism and the modus operandi of gang warfare has taken over the sub-economic areas of the Northern Areas in Gqeberha. The old refrain and sing song of “we must blame it on apartheid” that has cursed us must come to an end if we are to rise as a nation like the phoenix. Endure? We have endured. Haven’t we sacrificed enough? We have sacrificed enough. What about survival, you say? We have survived and lived to tell the tale.

There are more Coloured young people in the prison system than there are studying at the lofty universities. Why is this so? Can it be that until we come face to face with the claws, the talons of the meat eaters of systemic racism and corporate brouhaha, the failing education system in predominantly Coloured areas then mark my words we will see a return to a wholesome identity.

What does it mean by coming face to face with racial inequality? Recognition must be given to unemployment and why are there such high unemployment figures in the Northern Areas? We are running out of time. Our children, the future, are running out of time. War has taken over peace in our time. The what ifs and the have nots sink deeper into poverty and while all of that is happening to the rich, the 1% are getting richer. We need solutions now and not tomorrow.

By this I of course mean, not a fractured identity, not a spineless identity, not an invisible, unseen identity but an identity of poets, of oral storytellers, of people who understand the medicinal properties of plants. We need an identity for our cultural and poetry practitioners, our intelligentsia is crying out to be heard and what to do about the cultural trauma that descended upon this country during the powerful apartheid regime?

What about the heinous terror and atrocities that stalwarts, cadres, comrades, soldiers and veterans still live with? What must our intentions be towards each other now as we bridge this gap? Violence is being met with violence, is it not? Brutality, each to his own, is being met with brutality on the streets of the Northern Areas? Is a political party, our values, principles, church or God going to save us from the mendacity we find ourselves in?

I say this. That we should prepare ourselves for the worst situation and the best situation and weigh up the pros and cons. How do we evolve as a community, how do we establish a psychological framework for our intentions, our intellectualism and how do we enable the youth and our children to follow in the footsteps of Dr Neville Alexander, Dr Kenny Abrahams, Ben Kies, Dulcie September, Elizabeth van der Heyden, and the world renowned poetess Diana Ferrus. We remember Krotoa and Dawid Stuurman but do our children remember them? It will be storytellers in the oral tradition that will save us. It will be our poets and playwrights and filmmakers that will come to our rescue. It is the children, the future generations of the northern areas who are the true pathfinders.

I identify as a Coloured writer, a Coloured poet. What is my heritage, traditions, culture if I take a tour down the memory lane of my childhood and adolescence? The smells of my mother’s cooking, the joys of my “brown” dysfunctional nuclear family, the schools I attended, the swirlkous, the peanut butter sandwich lunches, and the bully beef and Ricardo, the singer.

We must tell our politicians to stop with their shenanigans and help us to find these solutions to save our planet from climate change, global warming, this energy crisis that is affecting all of us. We must look to the future and pray. We must look to our children and help them find success in life. Where our parents failed us, we must not fail our children. The pain body, the collective trauma in our children runs deep. Its intensity is blinding. South Africa we must not fail our children.

Prayer is the only thing that is going to save Gqeberha. Constant and effective prayer that is. There are so many tales of woe, trial and tribulation in the world today. Remaining steadfast in prayer and keeping the focus on the family is the only thing that will restore humanity on not just the local level but on a global scale as well.

There is a light in the northern areas known as the Helenvale Poets. They are writing their truth to power using their literary skill under the guidance of well-established South African poet Brian Walter. May their almost prophetic understanding of the world around them and their words carry us and sustain us. May they rise like the phoenix and shine in the global arena.

I am proudly born and raised in the northern areas of Gqeberha.

They speak of gangs and gang violence. The fractured identity of our youth and the Coloured intelligentsia. Bullets are raining down from the skies but my pen is mightier than the sword. I am writing my truth to power, transforming myself and my community. Sons, daughters of Gqeberha you have the light of God within you. It is time that we uplift and empower ourselves and thank our community leaders. The children are our future. Take note. It is time to heal intergenerational trauma.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Abigail George is a researcher and historian. Follow her on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @abigailgeorgepoet.