Youth on the Cape Flats have been urged to visit the new Y-ise Up Museum in Strandfontein to learn about the stark realities of gangsterism and establish the idea of a “coloured” identity.
Cape Flats YMCA director Ricardo de Reuck says the idea of a museum was born after his nephew was killed in 2019 due to gang violence.
“It started with us questioning how we can teach a prevention message feeling more real, and we wanted to show young people what happens when they join gangs,” he explains.
“We wanted to show them the challenges and we wanted them to know their identity. This means taking them back into history, thus enforcing the chapter of District Six and also including our coloured struggle heroes.”
Ricardo, 53, says they decided to use three rooms, each sketching a different scenario of thug life, starting with how young men are drawn into the gang, and ending with mothers weeping over graves.
The Cape Flats YMCA, previously known as the Mitchells Plain YMCA and housed at the former Camp Joy, was founded in 1989 and has been revamped with modern activities and facilities including the YZone, Y-Arts, Y-Justice, Y-Health and Y-Fit programmes.
The museum takes you on a journey through the history of the Cape Flats starting with murals depicting the vibrancy of District Six and the devastation of the forced removals.
Ricardo says: “In Room 1, we show you the ugly truth of gangsterism by removing the riches and glamour, and showing images of the numbers gang.
“In Room 2, we show you the consequences of the wrong choice – the prison cell.
“In this room, we hear the real life story of a man who chose the life of gangsterism and ended up in prison.
“Room 3 gives a voice to the silent cries of the mother whose child was caught in crossfire, the father whose son overdosed on drugs, and the story of an uncle who had to bury his nephew.”
Ricardo says the museum is sustained through donations.
“We would like to get the Department of Education and Social Development on board and we also would love to get an 18-seater vehicle to transport youth to the museum.”
He appeals to mense to share their stories and photos of D6. Call him on 083 461 8763.