Grassy Park Youth Festival celebrates fourth birthday

When the Grassy Park Youth Festival was first held in 1999, it took place over a few hours.

The event has since grown in stature that it will held over three days this year, from 14 to 16 June.

But, sadly, sponsorship for the event has not grown with it. Whereas the Department of Community Safety and Security had sponsored R500 000 to event last year, so far this year organisers have only secured R180 000 – R30 000 from the Western Cape Education Department and R150 000 from the Premier’s Office.

 Currently efforts are being made to secure a R100 000 grant from the City of Cape Town Mayor’s Office.

The manager of the event, Pastor Wayne Meyer of His People Church, told the Commentator that at a recent meeting a proposal was made to form a Section 21 company to run the event in order to secure more funding to secure the future of the festival.

Representatives from a number of organisations attended the meeting including the South Peninsula Youth Council, Grassy Park police, Future Factory, Good Hope FM, the Grassy Park Sports and Recreation Council, the African Christian Democratic Party Youth, South Peninsula Administration and Steenberg Community Police Forum.

Pastor Meyer said one of the main reasons for hosting the event was to contribute towards reducing the high crime rate, particularly violence by young people against young people.

“We will be worse off if we don’t do anything about it,” he said.

And it seems that the festival has the desired effect especially so just before, during and just after the event, according to Inspector Isidore Smith.

“Statistics show that crime in the area decrease during the period of the festival,” says Inspector Smith.

Community meeting on crime, poverty

In a concerted effort to unite the residents of the Retreat/Steenberg area, the Retreat/Steenberg Civic Association recently organised a Sectoral Symposium on Crime, Unemployment and Poverty.

The meeting, which was attended by residents and a number of representatives of community organisations, was held at the Retreat Library on 17 March 2003.

The meeting deliberated on the issues of the disturbing features of crime, the rising incidence of unemployment and the tragic results of poverty. There is also a recognition of the fact that there is a serious lack of housing and jobs.

The Retreat/Steenberg area is fast being considered as one of the worst litter-strewn areas in the Western Cape.

The Truancy Officer who served the area for a number of years under the auspices of the Western Cape Safe Schools project retired in December and will not be replaced.

The condition of Retreat Road is an indication that corporate business and the SPA is not interested in the area. The same applies to the proposed commercial and/or industrial development at Capricorn.

The spin-offs of this state of affairs are emotional instability, alienation, frustration and despair.

In addition to this the community is faced with the problems of truancy and related educational problems, health effects through substance abuse, increased workloads for community workers, an all-round lowering of cultural values and standards, despair, stress, anger and fear.

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