Andiswa Putsu


72I am a resident of M Section in Monwabisi Park.  I moved here in 2000 from Willowvale, a village in the Eastern Cape. In Willowvale, there were no taps like Monwabisi Park. We had to walk thirty minutes to get water from a river or spring. While I was in the Eastern Cape I received  a proper education at two different schools.  My primary school which was grades 1-7 and a secondary school where I went for grades 8-12.

I came to Cape Town alone.  I came to look for a job here because people from my village who came back from Cape Town for a visit told me there were many jobs in the city.  That’s why I came here.  I first stayed with my cousin in Monwabisi Park and then after a month I decided to build my own shack.  First I had to take away the bush on the site.  It was harder to find a job than I thought it would be.  I currently live with my two children, my son, Sihle age 13 and my daughter, Mihlali age 7.

How did you become a patrol member in Monwabisi Park?

73In 2005 I first volunteered for a community patrol.  My patrol goes out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in M section from  eight in the evening until 3 in them morning with thirty other persons from M section.  On our patrol, typically two thirds men and one third women, we walk at the back of the section then move towards the front, and then travel along the smaller paths in the middle.  We look out for robbers, for those people who break into houses at night.  We also go into the shebeens to force owners to close at 9pm,  according to the rule.  The longer they’re open the more people drink and the more trouble happens.  If the patrol is present, the shebeen closes at 9pm.  We typically go to five shebeens on our patrol.  The people in the shebeens and the owners get very angry at the patrol.  Most often, because we are so many, the owner closes the shebeen.  If not, we will call the police.

Sometimes when we call the police they come, other times they say they don’t have a van available.  As my children become older, I decided to leave the patrol in 2009 to focus on youth work.

How did you become a youth group leader in Monwabisi Park?

73My daughter and seven other young girls from 7 to 11 years of age, have formed a dance troupe.  I help the woman who leads the group when she is unable to organize rehearsals. The children rehearse in my house after school where we play Xhosa traditional music.  The children learn lyrics and dances and perform in M section on Saturdays in the warmer weather. In the winter, they rehearse inside but if it’s raining too much the shack sometimes floods and it’s too wet for the girls to rehearse.   I would like it if all the  girls  had uniform and a drum.

The girls need a larger area to dance, and play, and do other things.  We expected the city would build a community hall in M section that would be big enough for such activities.  If the leaders and residents of M section are together, we can work with the city to construct a community hall in the next year or two.

I would like to work with young children as crèche assistant or an outreach worker in an effort to bring better early childhood development to Monwabisi Park.