Posts Tagged ‘rats’

DATE: 29 AUGUST 2011

VENUE: MC WEILER PRIMARY SCHOOL

We as Siyakhona went to the MC Weiler Primary school to screen the rats’ call to action film for 250 learners. We were truly amazed by the way the kids responded to our call for them to join the Siyakhona Initiative to get rid of the rats and pollution in Alexandra.

It was not only to show the film but to hear their views about the project and the film. Mandla from Eco-Solutions was there to tell the kids about the owls and how they will help Alexandra to reduce rat populations. The kids responded by saying:

“We want the owls because it’s good for the environment and they could help.” But there were two sides, others said “Owls are used to practice witchcraft”. Others said they were scared of rats but they would love to be part of the project of introducing owls to their school and a competition to turn waste into wealth by recycling as the environmental class.

They came with the solutions that they are using now, “as learners of MC Weiler we will go around our township and collect waste and recycle.

And they have their three R’s (re-use, reduce and recycle). So we urge the schools that are part of the competition to start looking at the environment differently and tell their peers to.

BY

Shirley Langley

Siyakhona held their mobile public cinema screening on 25 August 2011, the screening was held in the Setshwetla area near Marlboro Gardens. We demonstrated a good strategy of working together with local stakeholders such as Alex FM and Amakhone Esintu. The Alexandra community station reported on the event and dj Umbrella joined us to listen to what the community had to say. Amakhone Esintu, a local theatre production company performed African traditional ways of story telling to empower our community with issues related to battle against rats.

Mobile Community Cinema Screening

Lehlohonolo speaks to the community

Eco solutions provoked a possible solution by playing a digital story about owls and their role in managing the rats and also verbal teaching of the importance of balancing the eco system. Introducing owls to the rats problem is part of a solution which then sparked debate amongst the citizen of Setshwetla.

After the rats film the audience shared their views and opinions:

They highlighted the issue of cleanness as one of the problems, they then suggested to be given extra plastic bags to put in their rubbish.

People also have a problem of congestion as one of the problems that prevent proper cleanliness, and they suggest that the cleaning company must intensify cleaning effectively in congested areas .

They also highlighted the issue of housing as the main solution to the rats problem.

More than half the population believe in different myths that are attributed to owls . However one lady suggested that it would be better to live with owls than rats. The over-all response of people on this eco-solution showed a greater need for more workshops about owls.

The Setshwetla screening was one of the best screenings that we ever had around Alex. The turn out was +-350 people and more than 50 kids were there. Organizations from Alexandra township like Life Line also supported our consultation, helping us to facilitate the dialogue session after the film and encouraged us with support for the great work we are doing.

They are big with different kinds of colors. They don’t care about life as long as they get something to eat. You will find them everywhere, but they stay in a township called Alexandra yes I am talking about Rats. Others may take rats and mice and make them their pets but for us people of Alex it’s terrifying to have rats as our pets.

We live, eat, sleep with them. These rats have invaded our beautiful township. mobile public screening in Setshwetla Alexandra

They are seen day & night yet we think it is normal, at first it was 1, 2, 10 but there are millions of rats in Alexandra township. These rats come with their own diseases, but still we sit and keep quiet. I am a citizen journalist of Alex who is very concerned because these rats won’t only give me their disease, but the whole of Alex will suffer.

So we took the rats’ film to Setjwetla one of the informal settlements in our township, trying to hear their views and what can we do about this problem.

The people were very shocked when they heard about the diseases that the rats carry. We consulted with them. This is what they said, “as long we don’t clean after ourselves nothing will be done to get rid of these rats”, the other one said “we as Alexandra citizens, we need to help the municipality and work with them to keep our township clean”.

We do not plead to the government only but to the people as well please let’s keep our yards clean, let’s live in a clean environment, the government is trying to help Alexandra by bringing owls to the township so people I leave you with this question. What do you think about owls in the township of Alex?

 

 

 

 

The Siyakhona (We can do it) Alexandra team has been working almost seven days a week since November and had just achieved my dream; using the medium of film to create change within their society. They have achieved beyond my wildest dreams.
With portable projector and screen they have shown the film to to just about all the residents of Alexandra township. The team created a platform for freedom of expression; dialogue, ideas and debate. Soon after the screenings Warren, Tshepiso and Lehlohonolo took a copy of their film highlighting the growing crisis of rats to the municipal managers of region E, without an appointment.
The team so impressed the managers with their film and powerpoint presentation of the possible solution, that they were referred to the next highest level. Three short meetings later Siyakhona Alexandra had presented their film on rats to the directors of every region of Gauteng. These public servants and their staff were so inspired by our team’s work that they committed to pulling all their resources, time and in some cases holiday time, to help our team and the residents of Alexandra to get rid of the pollution which is exacerbating the rat crisis.
900 volunteers came each of the three days to join our campaign together with Region E, PickitUp, Emergency Services, Departments of environment, service delivery, health, urban management,the police, the metro police, Alexandra Renewal project, local NGOs and others to clean the worst areas of Alexandra. It was a fantastic effort but it is by no means the last. The impact has created further determination with our partners to turn Alexandra township into a safe environment for its residents.
The team has since the campaign ( the last ten days) produced two Mxit videos for mobile download (Watch this space!!!) and an advocacy based citizen video journalist film on their community addressing the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG); reducing hunger and poverty. I had no reason to worry as the team pulled together and produced some wonderful work.              

Hillside Digital citizen journalists (CJs) collect a minimum of 100 votes from their community on a particular issue before producing an advocacy based video on a call to action: Sony Fevacastors made a great video explaining what we’re about.

HD CJs research and interview all concerned before formulating and producing a film that calls for a ‘plan of action’.

Platform

The screenings provide a platform for information sharing, debate and (a specialist on HIV/AIDS, employment, housing, government policy etc) dialogue empowering the community and leadership to unite to find solutions to their most pressing issues- speeding up social change.

HD videos are screened to all parts of the community on portable projectors; covering a number of issues notably, service delivery, human rights, health, education and employment, local news as well as positive stories on local arts and entertainment, success and impact.

A post viewing dialogue will give the audience a chance to have their voice heard.

The videos empower the community to unite and find solutions to their most pressing issues; i.e. speeding up social change.

HD CJs are responsible for implementing an agreed upon action by the community and reporting back to their community.

Action

In each area where Hillside Digital operates, it coordinates with the area’s key role players; community leaders, NGOs, development forums and local authorities (when ethical) inspired by the community to ‘do it for themselves’ through the video advocacy screenings. Siyakhona inspires city to put rats in its crosshairs [tweetmeme source=”hillsidedigital” only_single=false]

By Warren

It has been a perfect three-day clean up campaign in and around Alexandra Township after a call to action to Alexandra; cleaning the environment to eliminate a number of rats.

We have had 900 volunteers from the community to clean up in eleven most polluted areas. Such areas that we have identified when we were filming the rats documentary.

The Regional Director of the Municipality, officially opened the first day of the campaign,, with other councilors, and officials from City of Johannesburg Municipalities.

Mean while the launch was taking place at three square grounds in Alex, 900 volunteers were gathering at the starting point of the parade, and with youth musical groups which lead the parade in excitement,  not only with crazy dances but it managed to pull the community to the inner community hall. At the community hall, the volunteers were allocated to clean sites, and then the clean up campaign started.

The hunt for the rodents reached one of the most affected areas by rats, and then there was the fumigation process.

We encountered a few problems with some locals of the area who kept on dumping and not cooperating with us, as they demanded more plastics, and they promised they would keep on dumping carelessly till the municipality gave them more rubbish bags.

I guess the only way we do great impact in Alexandra, is by pulling the community together, and influence community participation strategies that will create a working and united community against all issues such as the Rats problem.

All stakeholders will be meeting to discuss such strategies and the monitoring and evaluation processes that will be put in place, making sure there is less waste of resources on future campaigns and to use them fruitfully for the benefit of the community.

I would like to recognize extended support we received from the Region E Municipality, City of Johannesburg Municipality, Alexandra Community organizations in environmental works and social development, and the volunteers, field band musical group which made a wonderful parade performance.. It was indeed a shaking effort for the people of Alex.

Rats are in City’s cross hairs Print E-mail a friend
Written by Rudo Mungoshi
Thursday, 02 September 2010
Catching rats: an Alex resident uses special equipment to kill rodents

There is a rodent infestation in Alexandra, but the City and its partners are spearheading a cleanup and education campaign.

DAVID Maphangwa doesn’t remember when the giant rats first appeared. Like many another Alexandra resident, he has learned to turn a blind eye to the creatures and, surprisingly, he is adjusting to their growing presence.

All Alex residents should come together to clean up their area, says Region E director Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro

All Alex residents should come together to clean up their area, says Region E director Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro

“I have been here for three years and it has been an ongoing problem,” Maphangwa says. “They have cost me a lot of money and a lot of inconvenience.”

Maphangwa, an informal trader who sells meat for a living, tries his best to clean up his work place in the hope of not attracting the rats. He used to put down poison for the rodents, but eventually gave up when he realised that it was having no effect.

Norman Mashaba, another Alex meat seller, adds: “They are massive creatures. If people didn’t throw food on the ground, I don’t think it would happen.”

He “always” sees the rats running around, especially in the afternoon. They are causing hell for residents; they chew through doors and get into houses in their endless search for food. It’s common to hear stories of rats eating clothes or opening pots or, more horrifying, of rats biting babies.

One resident claims: “They are large as cats.” Another says: “They are the size of dogs and they are not afraid of humans. They will scurry right around your feet.”

The rodents plaguing Alexandra feed on scraps from bins or on rubbish dumped in the streets. They belong to the Rattus Norvegicus species, known as the Norway rat or the brown rat.

Clean up
To tackle the problem, the City began a massive cleanup campaign on Wednesday, 1 September. It is a response to the problems identified in short films made by six trainee video journalists on the infestation of rats in the township that are breeding in improperly managed rubbish.

The unhygienic conditions in most parts of Alex are excellent breeding ground for rodents

The unhygienic conditions in most parts of Alex are excellent breeding ground for rodents

Participating in the campaign are the Hillside Digital trainee video journalists, Region E, Pikitup, metro police, South African Police Service, Alexandra Urban Renewal Project and local councillors. The campaign will end on 4 September. The areas targeted for the cleanup include Oliver Tambo, Kholofelo ya Joseph, Roosevelt, Alex Vincent, Vasco da Gama and Richard Baloyi.

The six trainee video journalists, all from disadvantaged communities, were trained under the Siyakhona project to become citizen journalists, fighting for the rights of their communities. Siyakhona is part of Sony’s corporate social responsibility collaboration with FIFA. It is implemented through Football for Hope, the FIFA and streetfootballworld movement.

The project is implemented by Hillside Digital, a South African nongovernmental organisation dedicated to giving a voice to impoverished communities.

Speaking at the start of the cleanup at the Square in Alexandra, the Region E regional director, Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro ,thanked the City departments for uniting to tackle the rat problem. “If we cannot do it together, we are unlikely to win the battle against social challenges.”

She pointed out that initiatives implemented in the past were not successful because of a lack of co-operation between departments and communities. “Urban role management is unlocking the inefficiencies and encouraging a more systematic and integrated approach to service delivery.”

Litter
The City needed to develop a holistic approach to illegal dumping in informal settlements, she added. It needed to encourage people to use rubbish bins and rubbish collection points to reduce rat infestation.

Gotcha! A health officer shows off the size of rats hounding in Alex residents

Gotcha! A health officer shows off the size of rats hounding in Alex residents

Mustapha Hendricks, the chairperson of the pest control task force in the City’s environment health unit, spoke about the five steps that Alex residents could take to keep rats out.

“You have to inspect your property; clean up any droppings or tracks they leave behind; starve them … also shut them out by sealing cracks and holes in your residence; and wipe them out with rodent baiting.”

However, he warned the crowd that using pesticides or baits would not work effectively if they did not change some of their habits. “Rodent bait is an effective way to wipe out rats but it only works if we clear the rubbish first … Instead of throwing out food on to the pavements, wrap it up in plastic bags and throw it into bins.”

To prevent the outbreak of disease, Hendricks explained that his division caught rats on a monthly basis and sent blood samples from them to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases for testing. “So far we have not had any positive results,” he said.

The head of Region E’s health department, Vusi Mazibuko, said the rat infestation in Alexandra was caused by unhygienic conditions, overcrowding, scrap yards and illegal dumping. “If we don’t act quickly about this critical problem, we will have a serious outbreak of diseases.”

Contact the environmental health office on 011 582 1651/2/3 for help in controlling rodents.

Read more: http://www.joburg.org.za/content/view/5639/266/#ixzz0yOoR7awD