DIASPORA—They say it takes a village to raise a child and well, sometimes it also takes a village to protect one. In August of last year, the small township of Mfuleni on the outskirts of Cape Town registered 31 murders in 31 days. Gang violence is so prevalent that kids are scared to walk to school.
Enters the Walking Bus Initiative, led by adult “drivers”—namely grown-ups in neon safety jackets and a whistle around their necks—who pick up students at their respective houses, walk them to school, and bring them home in the afternoons.
Edith Naomi Wan Wyk, one of its founders, spearheaded the initiative following the brutal murder of both her son and brother.
In an AJ+ video, Allystair Sauer the principal of Hoofweg Primary School says: “Things started to change with the Walking Bus because the parents that are on the Walking Bus, they are familiar with the area and they know the children, they know also the gangsters. As soon as there is a shooting in the afternoon outside, the Walking Bus people, they will inform me not to ring the bell or keep the children for a while inside the school, and then we wait until we get the green light from them.”
Other schools and provinces are taking notice, starting their very own walking buses.
For more on the initiative, check out the video below.
When gang violence made it too dangerous to walk to school, this South African township created the Walking Bus. pic.twitter.com/ke89Zq0N15
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 14, 2017