HEART-WRENCHING: In Gatvol, seven women from Hanover Park share their stories of how they have lost loved ones in the gang warfare that is ravaging their communities, and how the police have failed to bring the culprits to justice.

They are the shocked faces, hunched over the dead, bloody bodies stretched out on the road or field. 

They are the mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives of the men and boys shot and stabbed to death in the gang-infested streets of Hanover Park.

Now the stories of seven of these women will be told in a documentary called Gatvol to be shown at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town. It is part of the Street Talk series, which addresses the scourge of gang violence affecting communities.

“We’ve gone into communities and gathered some groups and had conversations with them. We focus mainly on ordinary people to hold conversations with,” said series director Jo Menell, a well known television reporter, producer and director. He holds an Masters degree in anthropology from Trinity College Cambridge. He joined the BBC as a reporter and later produced documentaries for the BBC’s Panorama and ITV’s This Week.

In 1969, the South African government banned him after he directed three documentaries around the country. Menell has since worked internationally for television stations in Chile, Brazil and the US. He received an Academy award nomination in 1996 for directing Mandela.

“In Street Talk we stay away from politics and we talk about the social issues our country is facing. We live in a very divided society and communities like Hanover Park face a lot of prejudice,” Menell said.

Among those who share their stories is community worker Kashiefa Mohammad, whose son was stabbed to death in March.

Menell said he hopes to galvanise the communities through Street Talk. “I am hoping to show them that these woman are giving voice to the voiceless,” he said.

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Cape Argus