Voice of the Cape: Symphony Way marks 1 year since eviction


Symphony Way marks 1 year since eviction
Posted on: 2009-02-21 07:53:04

Informal dwellers on Symphony Way in Delft spent 17 hours on Thursday commemorating their evictions in February last year, to highlight the plight they have suffered since living on the roadside for the past year. The event made headlines last year when some 1000 residents illegally occupied newly completed N2 Gateway homes in Delft after being on government’s housing waiting list for years. The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), who has been at the forefront of the Delft community’s resistance against their eviction from the N2 Gateway homes, led Thursday’s campaign on Symphony Way.

“We started the day by waking up at 4am – the same time as the evictions began on 19th February 2008. The entire road came together in prayer and then held a candle lighting vigil. We then watched a very emotional slide show of our experiences with one another including the mass meetings with DA ward councillor Frank Martin that set our community on the path to occupation in the first place,” reported AEC spokesperson Ashraf Cassiem.

Residents related their personal histories of how the evictions had affected them, said Cassiem. After breaking for a while, Symphony Way children initiated a series of plays, which they came up with themselves. Themes varied from recounting last year’s evictions, fictional accounts of how school and life weave together for communities in struggle, and even a comedic sketch of how the children interpret the roadside politics of the adults.

“This was the most emotional time of the day as we recounted both the good and the bad of our struggle. The children came up with a few personal histories of their own. These differed from the parents in that it challenged the parent’s own account of the evictions but still no less emotional,” he said.

At about 4:30pm, over 100 residents set out and walked about 3km to Stellenbosch Arterial they staged a two-hour toyi-toyi in peak-time. Cassiem said homemade signs were meant to remind those in power that beleaguered residents would not give up and would persevere in getting their own homes. A mass community meeting was held in the evening to discuss the way forward.

“We clearly showed that we will not fade away – nor will we go quietly to Blikkiesdorp. We won’t stop reminding government that we want and deserve houses and that we will continue to blockade the road and refuse to vote until we get them,” he stressed.

“In the end, we vowed to make sure that as the elections get nearer, we will make the stakes even higher for political parties. We will be an important voice come election-day and will hold all politicians accountable.” VOC (Tasneem Mohamed)