Cape Town – A museum dedicated to showcasing the raw and vivid colours of Cape Flats history, culture and the colossal impact gangsterism has on these communities, had a pre-launch on Tuesday.
The Y-Wise Up museum, located at the YMCA Rotary Camp in Strandfontein, is an initiative by YMCA Cape Flats that attempts to educate and empower communities while creating more awareness in societies.
YMCA Cape Flats director Ricardo de Reuck said the idea was birthed when he visited the 18 Gangsters Museum in Khayelitsha early last year.
De Reuck also lost his nephew to gang violence, prompting him to think more determinedly about spreading gang prevention messages in an unconventional manner, and leaning on Cape Flats history and culture.
The museum consists of a broader room depicting infamous areas, and Cape Flats symbols and language, as well as everyday lived experiences, painted boldly on to the walls. The museum also consists of three rooms, each with its own theme – a jail cell, a room dedicated to anti-apartheid Struggle veterans and other iconic figures, and another in memory of the young children who lost their lives because of violence.
“We want our community to remember these people and not forget their names and the role that they played in the Struggle.
“We also want to identify young men and women who have come out of the Cape Flats and have made a positive contribution to society,” said De Reuck.
Reformed gangster Solomon Staggie, was responsible for the room depicting a jail cell, which will focus on gang culture.
“Your environment does not dictate where you will end up, your choices do, but it does play a role.
“Revenge, there is no room for it,” he said.
Rise Up founder Ivan Jones, works with families affected by or have lost loved ones through gang violence.
“We find that the families of these children never go for counselling and never get help. Those families had to relocate from where they used to stay because they can’t handle coming out of their houses daily and seeing where their child was shot and killed. We want to be a voice for these children.”
Retired architect Kenneth Alexander, responsible for the artwork, said: “Every work I do is based on current events and working away from being in denial. Everybody says we are all equal but that is not true. I work with people in the area where the Trojan Horse massacre took place – those people are still battling.”
Cape Flats Stories founder Stanley Jacobs said: “We need to understand where we come from, we need to understand our history in order for us to move forward as a people of the Cape Flats.
The pre-launch was supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and Vumatel.
Cultural Affairs MEC Anroux Marais said the department’s role was not only to provide financial support but emotional as well.