Following on from yesterday’s post from Clare’s blog about the raw realites in Manenberg, I thought I would share with you a ‘psalm’ or God-poem written by one of the young adults that Fusion works with in Manenberg.
Below that I have given more background on Manenberg as a place and Fusion as an oraganisation.
The power of God’s love and community shouldn’t be under-estimated.
Psalms of Manenberg
“I searched but never found, but what I found was love..
Well, not the kinda love I was looking for.
Let me rather say more than this and it hit me from my feet – I don’t know if I want it.
You look for it when you down and out but you don’t want it when it lifted you up.
It might sound insane but believe me I was there…but never to be seen there again.
Sometimes you just can’t see what it is or how it comes but its there,
It was there all the time, even before time.
And it will be there even when time is no more
Just got to want it.
Ask, seek, knock
Manenberg is a largely Coloured community on the Cape Flats, on the outskirts of Cape Town, where clotheslines span across apartheid-government-built housing and children play in the streets – the back of Table Mountain visible in the distance. Established in 1966 during Apartheid, Manenberg was labeled as a “non-white area” and created to house a forcefully displaced Coloured community under what was known as the Group Areas Act. The Coloured population is one unique to Southern Africa. A mixed race that stems from a combination of Caucasian, African and imported Malaysian slaves, they speak mainly Afrikaans, and over time have formed their own unique culture, different from both the white and black cultures that coexist in South Africa. The township has high levels of unemployment, overcrowding, overpopulation, drug use and a disturbing reputation for high levels of gang activity and warfare. Despite such marginalization, the community has a strong sense of culture, and is a resilient population. They continually strive to take back their community, trying to provide a neighborhood that they have created for themselves instead of one that the old Apartheid Government dictated to them.
Fusion is a project linked with The Warehouse (the charity/NGO I partner with in SA). Fusion is a praying community who builds meaningful relationships with broken young people caught in cycles of destructive behaviours. It is a community-based organisation that functions as family. They are cultivating a Transformational Community of young people formerly involved in lifestyles of destruction in order to help them choose an alternative way of life. This involves counselling and active mentoring as part of the community, and encouraging those young adults to then mentor others as they move forward.
Fusion works with high-risk young people (aged 18-25). As a result of the gangsterism, drugs, abuse and criminal activity, many children in Manenberg grow up without positive father figures and role models which, in turn, perpetuates the cycle of dysfunctionality. Mothers are often left to raise multiple children largely unaided, leading many to substance abuse, which can result in inappropriate subjection to trauma and distress to the child from an early age. These same issues drive young women into abusive relationships, prostitution, and places of low self-worth and hopelessness. The young men and women who are most vulnerable are often unemployed, poorly educated and already involved in criminal and violent activities.
BUT, Fusion believes things can change.
Restored High-Risk Youth
Local young people with global horizons
Young people mobilised to be positive role models living in Manenberg
Young people who value learning and education as a means to future employment and independence
Physically healthy, vibrant young people
Young people equipped to thrive personally and in their relationships
An army of young people with their identity rooted in Christ.
For transformation of high-risk youth, Fusion honours them as:
People who are full of gold waiting to be pursued and found
Individuals deserving of time, relationship and persistent, non-judgemental love
Needing a friend to walk alongside them to help establish healthy life rhythms
Hungry for an alternative community to replace their previous destructive communities
Loveable and able to learn how to love
Oaks of righteousness who will rebuild and repair Manenberg
Please keep Clare, Patrick and Jonathan in your thoughts and prayers. They and the Fusion community are going through a tough time at the moment. But the light is stronger than the darkness…