Salie’s peace gar­dens fea­ture on CNN doc­cie


HER GAR­DEN is not only a place of tran­quil­lity, but an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised peace gar­den amid the vi­o­lence in her sub­urb.

So­raya Salie from Bon­te­heuwel has re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards for her peace- build­ing ef­forts in com­mu­ni­ties and she is now the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary on in­ter­na­tional tele­vi­sion chan­nel CNN.

Salie, who is also the founder of the Bon­te­heuwel Walk­ing Ladies, said CNN had fea­tured her in a doc­u­men­tary about home gar­den­ing.

“It was very ex­cit­ing,” she said. Salie is also ac­tively in­volved in peace build­ing in com­mu­ni­ties by grow­ing peace gar­dens. She said they mainly grew sun­flow­ers which sym­bol­ise peace.

For three years she has won awards for peace build­ing in com­mu­ni­ties from the In­ter­na­tional Peace Group.

In 2016 she also won the Mus­lim Women at the In­ter­sec­tions of Vi­o­lence Con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing Poverty and Ter­ror award from the In­ter­na­tional Peace Col­lege of South Africa (IPSA).

“With there be­ing such a lot of crime and vi­o­lence in our com­mu­ni­ties, we want more peace gar­dens. We re­alised that our com­mu­ni­ties are trau­ma­tised and plagued by gang­ster­ism, drugs and poverty.

“Last year we planted sun­flow­ers and laid stones in mem­ory of all the young peo­ple who died in gang vi­o­lence at Bon­te­heuwel High School.

“When we planted the gar­den the pupils at the school cried, be­cause they were re­minded of their class­mates who were killed. Four pupils of the school were shot last year.”

Pupils also painted the stones of the 60 peace gar­dens in Bon­te­heuwel yel­low, which means peace.

“It was such an emo­tional mo­ment for them. But they also found heal­ing in it, be­cause they got to talk about the vi­o­lence and trauma they ex­pe­ri­enced, es­pe­cially for the moth­ers who also lost their chil­dren in gang vi­o­lence. Be­cause if your child was killed in gang vi­o­lence, peo­ple ex­pect you just to move on.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t even go for coun­selling to deal with the trauma. Cur­rently we have 60 peace gar­dens in Bon­te­heuwel to spread peace.

“Chil­dren should also be taught at a young age not to be vi­o­lent but to build peace,” she said.

So­raya Salie

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