GOOD CITY GONE BAD
By: Mhleli Mkhize
Durban, a portion of South Africa’s heritage and a tourist attraction with great history and treasures that were once guaranteed to last for decades.
What has happened to Durban? The soils have become unpleasant and sour. Walking on it is now a death sentence. The history the city harbours and the outstanding architect that continues to reflect its success. The city is an investment to a selected, shelter for the homeless, playground for the young, home for many and a resting place for the deceased.
It is through the shaking legs and walk of fear that its citizens have started to see it decompose. Drugs, prostitution, and abduction circle around Durban and pollute its society. Should we carry on referring ourselves as
Durban citizens or should move to another city? Or should we also consider selling our innocence, joining gangs and cutting our lives short. Live through what has now become the norm for society.
If some priests such as Bishop Hamilton Nala can “claim” to heal HIV & AIDS then surely let them intervene, curb pollution and crime that has now consumed the city. What happened to the work of our fallen heroes such as Dr Pixley ka Seme and Albert Luthuli? What has happened to the respect and dignity we give to the statues named after them and their names now tattooed in every street across Durban?
Looking at the homeless, one can see individuals who once had dreams and were motivated by their upbringing and nurtured by their communities. We do know these people. They are our family. Our friends but they have now lived in a different world that we fail recognise them in every corner of street.
In response to all the questions that surface when we access the condition in which the city is in, eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said municipal management led by Mayor James Nxumalo launched a programme called Qalakabusha (Fresh start).
“Through the Qalakabusha intervention programme, the Municipality aims to address social ills that exist in Albert Park and surrounding areas to make our city safer, cleaner and more attractive. In order to eliminate vagrancy, loitering and drug-abuse from Albert Park and surrounding areas in the city, the municipality’s Safer Cities Unit under the Community and Emergency Services Cluster has initiated numerous programmes to assist the homeless that live on our streets,” said Mofokeng.
Bongeka Mkhize, who works in one of the schools in Umbilo, said that she happens to pass here almost every afternoon and she holds her breathe that she comes out alive especially near Botha Park and the market.
Crime level makes the city dirty and that might dent its economy and tourist travels.