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All invitations had been sent out and a crowd of about forty slum dwellers, along with the chief and the police were expected at Ruben Centre at 2.00pm.


The invitation was attempting to gather together a cross section of people so the newly created Ruben Advocacy and Networking focus Group could listen and ultimately gain some insights into the real agenda of the community. 

In the new five year Strategic plan five strategic actions have been listed and Advocacy and networking is one of them and the hope was that this meeting would reveal some direction for strategic objectives that ultimately would positively impact on the realisation of our vision and mission here among the people.  For an Empowered and Just Community,”

The meeting went ahead but the attendance was severely reduced due to the cataclysmic  (one young volunteer’s word) happenings of the previous evening. Police from the Ruben Centre Police post shot dead eight young men in what has been described as summary executions. Enraged residents took to the streets and police called in riot police to reinforce their position and to ensure the slum remained calm.

Stories abound to   what happened and attached is the largest national  Daily newspaper article (April 21st)

Youth and local people working at Ruben would seem to agree that one of those youth was indeed a hard core criminal and once his whereabouts was   known to the police, they wasted no time in taking out. Dead men don’t tell stories theory hints at why the others would perish. 

As frustrated as I was with the timing of this appalling incident of injustice committed and our meeting scheduled, I couldn’t help but comment about the  coincidence  of these two events,  and stressed that the police action and plight of the youth had inadvertently given this focus group one more clear agenda item. 

Ruben Centre’s vision and mission is clearly still relevant and our resolve to help transform this community noticeably strengthened.