Two officers from the South African Police Service visited Vision AfriKa’s younger learners earlier this month in order to build bridges and show that they were there to help. Many members of the Kayamandi township community have traditionally been suspicious of the police, which means the children are afraid to go to them for help, especially in cases of abuse. As a result, the Grade R learners’ teacher invited them to come to the primary school at Vision AfriKa’s Ikhaya Trust Centre in order to support the class’s current focus on the theme of safety.
Children from the pre-school group attended too, but one student started to cry as he was afraid that the police had come to take him away. Captain Mithi succeeded in calming him down, however, and made it clear that the officers were there to protect them rather than hurt them. In fact, he described the other officer a “peace officer” as she is specifically tasked with attending every ‘phone call to ensure that callers are safe.
The peace officer talked to the learners about the safest way to get to school and also warned them not to talk to strangers. But she also advised them to come to the police if they were suffering abuse and taught them the appropriate crime stopper number – 10111 – in order to alert the authorities if something happened.
After the talk, the children were shown a bulletproof vest, a gun and the police car. The officers also put on the car’s siren so they could hear the various sounds that are made in different situations, although some of the students were keener on it than others.