On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris, a document that gathers the thirty basic human rights that we are all entitled to. According to Article 3, everyone has the right to life, liberty and personal safety. However, this does not happen in Hangberg, the slum where Meraki Bay works in the city of Cape Town.
According to the annual report of the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CCPSCJ) of Mexico, an agency charged with releasing an annual ranking of the most dangerous cities in the world, Cape Town is the 15th most dangerous metropolis in the world. Wade Cupido is one of the children that go to Houties every day, and he is very much aware of the issue.
Wade is ten years old and is in Year 4. He is the seventh of eight brothers and even though he has luckily enough never experienced any violence first-hand, he is aware that it is one of the main issues affecting the slum he lives in. “Violence is bad for the city because this is where the people I love are and I want them to be okay”.
According to declarations from the South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, gathered in September of this year by El Periódico, 20,336 people died in the country in a violent way from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, an average of 56 deaths per day. According to the same source, more than 900 deaths were the result of organized crime groups trying to settle old scores that operate mainly in the “coloured” areas of Cape Town, areas such as Hangberg, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Langa, Nyanga or Mitchell’s Plain, which are all slums in Cape Town.
Violence, drugs, alcoholism and premature pregnancies are some of the main problems that we have encountered here, and every day we fight to get children like Wade of the streets. Through our juvenile group’s workshops, we try to motivate them to provide for their village, to get them away from bad influences and instill in them universal values.
With the children, we have cleaned the beach, done workshops about bullying and gone to the bird sanctuary, amongst other things. Thanks to these activities, we managed to make children excited about coming to Houties every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wade and his little sister are two of the many children who come and he’s sure of one thing: “When I grow up, I want to be with my family and be a good man.”