Launch of Alcardo Andrews Foundation kitchen in Hanover Park

Hanover Park, located in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, a so-called “coloured area” is very often overlooked by development organisations, but not by Uthando ! We have established sincere, deep and meaningful relationships in this community which is ravaged by gangsterism, drugs and poverty. It is without doubt considered one of the more dangerous communities in Cape Town.  Thanks to our committed donors a brand new kitchen was launched on the 3rd of December 2020. We wish the founder “Aunty” Avril Andrews and her team all of the best with their endeavours to provide food and many other forms of assistance to the most vulnerable people in that community.

Read James Fernie’s full speech delivered at the launch to understand his motivation, drive and passion to leverage the tourism industry to assist with community development :

“Before I start today, I would like to ask for a minutes silence for all of the women, childen, members of the LGBTQ community and all people who have died or suffered as a result of gang violence, Gender Based Violence, discrimination and bigotry, in Hanover Park, the Cape Flats and South Africa.

Aunty Avril, Kadar and Clayton (The Andrews Family), thank you for welcoming us into your home and the official base for the Alcardo Andrews Foundation today.

To the whole team of “Moms Move For Justice” and the Alcardo Andrews Foundation, Aunty Avril, Lesley and all of the MOMS, thank you for hosting us today on this very special occasion.

I don’t normally write down my speeches and prefer to speak from the heart and off the cuff. However, I wish to share this speech with the many people who are not able to attend this function today, as I wish to extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to them, and for them to read my message to the people of Hanover Park.

It is an honour and a privilege to be present with you today, at the launch of this beautiful space and the brand new kitchen in Hanover Park. Infact, for me personally it also a dream turned into a beautiful reality.

I have been Chairperson of the Harfield Village Association (HVA) for almost 10 years. For several years I have implored our committee to reach out and extend a hand of friendship to our neighbours in Hanover Park with a view to breaking down barriers and mutual co- operation. I have said it many times, but Hanover Park is a mere 10 minutes geographically from Harfield Village but might as well be on a different planet in terms of the living conditions for the residents in their respective communities.

Here we are today with our beautiful friends in Hanover Park, building bridges, bringing people together and celebrating all that is good about the humanity, forging the kind of society that could be so achievable in South Africa if we all worked together with common purpose and a shared vision for real justice and equality.

There is a saying that every cloud has a silver lining which in reality means that we should always look for the opportunity in adversity. When I look at the people of the Cape Flats I am strike by their tenacity, their resilience, their kindness and generosity, their warmth and welcoming spirit and of course their graciousness. I am acutely aware this saying is infact a way of life for YOU, finding the goodness and opportunity inspite of the absolutely enormous challenges and adversity which you face almost on a daily basis, the type of challenges and adversity that people in areas like Harfield Village and suburban Cape Town simply cannot begin to comprehend.

Avril, Kadar and Clayton, of course I never met your son and brother, Alcardo, who was shot multiple times right here on this corner on the 28th of October 2015 and succumbed to his injuries. Honestly I cannot begin to imagine the kind of trauma that you as a family have had to endure since that fateful date. Lesley and Jeremy, the same applies to you with the senseless murder of your son Rory. Infact for all the MOMS, DADS and FAMILIES here today whose children have been murdered through gang violence or violence in general, you have my deepest and most sincere respect and admiration for turning tragedy into triumph and opportunity. Opportunity to be part of the solution, opportunity to heal your own wounds but also heal the deep wounds of a deeply scarred community. Scarred through no fault of your own making, but through hundreds of years of oppression, discrimination, forced removals and an evil consciousness perpetrated upon you that that said you were the “lesser people” in the country of your birth.

Through my work with Uthando over the last years 12 years, I have had the privilege of meeting so many truly outstanding and remarkable individuals, people that have turned terrible tragedy into triumph of the human spirit, and through their courage have honoured the legacy of their lost family member, helping thousands of people and provided a bright light of hope and inspiration.

Linda and Peter Biehl lost their only daughter Amy Biehl who was killed by a violent politically motivated mob in Gugulethu on the 25th of August 1993 and went on to form the Amy Biehl Foundation. Over the course of more than 20 years the foundation has provided an opportunity for literally many thousands of children to attend after-school programmes and obtain skills to equip them for transformation and development in their lives.

The Kaimowitz Family lost their 20 year old daughter, Ashley who was killed instantly by a drunk driver in March 2005. After meeting Mama Nocawe Mankayi in her tiny little home in Khayelitsha which also functioned as a place of safety for women and children, and after actually bearing witness to a little child being brought into her home after being raped, young Ashley produced a short documentary on the horrors of sexual and violent abuse of women and children in Khayelitsha. Before she died, Ashley used that video to raise awareness and funds to build a decent centre for abused women and children in Khayelitsha. After Ashley’s death, the Kaimowitz Family and especially her father Jeffrey, took up where Ashley left off to fulfill her vision of supporting the true angel of mercy Mama Nocawe in establishing a decent centre for absued women and children. Today, Mama Nocawe and Jeffrey are part of a passionate team of people managing the world class Nonceba (meaning “Concern”) Family Counselling Centre in Khayelitsha which was opened in November 2008.

To the Andrews and Wyngaard Families, and all of the “Moms Move for Justice”, today we honour your stories, your journeys, and we commit to supporting and helping your initiatives wherever and however we can.

2020 has been an unforgettable year. For as long as I live I will not forget the intensity of the experience that we all shared together during the covid 19 lockdown. Our first meeting at Rosmead Central Primary School where we stood in a huge circle, breaking the ice with introductions, getting to know each other and giving our input and ideas for the programme of action for the uncertain times ahead…the HVA “helping angels team”, the Alcardo Andrews team and the Hanover Park Cricket Club team.

Our constant communication, sorting lists of groceries, driving on apolalyptic deserted roads with a vehicle packed with groceries and other basic necessities, and of course driving into Hanover Park for the first time overcoming the fear of gangs and violence. Driving into this space out of fear that starving and desperate people would attack the vehicle like in other communities around Cape Town. The five “Saturday Sandwiches Drives” which turned into quite festive affairs but with more than 15 000 sandwiches lovingly made and delivered to the resident of Hanover Park. There was no lockdown because there was important work to be done! To Aunty Avril for surviving several weeks in hospital and the very tragic passing of our dear friend and comrade Peter Roberts due to Covid 19.

THANK YOU Aunty Avril, Lesley, all of the MOMS for JUSTICE and your families for you love, kindness, courage, tenacity and your programme of action in Hanover Park.

THANK YOU to Ashraf, Wes, our dear late friend Peter, Adam and the Hanover Park Cricket Club for your truly heroic efforts to help this community during these troubled times.

THANK YOU to all of the other community projects like Girls Matter, and others driven by innovative leadership.

THANK YOU to the Harfield Village “Helping Angels team, Alison, Maggie, Terry, Anel, Reyhana, Leila and Delva” as well as each and every person and company that contributed to the “Campaign of Goodness” run the Harfield Village Association.

THANK YOU to Chris Weir, Richard Butt, Kensington Place and the entire “Empty Bellies” team for the massive effort of cooking 55 000 hot and nutritious meals during lockdown and for initiating and driving this fulltime kitchen initiative in Hanover Park.

THANK YOU to Rory, Stephen and Leroy for collecting and delivering the food from town and driving out to Hanover Park every day, Monday to Friday. It was quite a logistical operation.

THANK YOU to the dedicated team who then distributed the food every evening throughout Hanover Park during the cold, wet and dark winter months. This is going to sound like a typical white South African thing to say, but on the odd occasion that I accompanied Aunty Avril and the team with food distribution, I had to pinch myself that I was deep in Hanover Park. These communities are so demonized in the press with high levels of gangsterism and violence, it is difficult not to be extremely fearful of coming into Hanover Park.

THANK YOU to Maggie Palthe for conceptualizing the beautiful initiative to generate funds for Hanover Park, the bags and tea towels “My Name is Hope, My Name is Peace and My Name is Happiness” and The Rosmead Super Spar for funding the initiative and paying over the profits in advance.

THANK YOU to the new friends and supporters of the foundation, the new kitchen and Hanover Park in general, namely Brigitte Walsh, Travel Beyond (Sweden), African Portfolio (USA) Jacana Tours (Germany)

Young Ashley Kaimowitz’s words are so beautiful and an appropriate way to end of this talk , “One can change the world if you have a heart without fear, a mind without walls and a dream big enough to share.

All the best Aunty Avril and your amazing team, we stand ready to support you.

I thank you.”

James Fernie
3 December 2020

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