Community safety is a crucial concern in neighbourhoods across South Africa. Tackling the challenge requires a proactive approach – including the training and equipping of residents to actively engage in their own safety initiatives. Empowering individuals not only enhances the capacity for crime prevention, but also cultivates a sense of ownership and unity amongst residents.

As part of the national implementation of the Nedbank Proud of my Town programme, Ranyaka recently rolled out a community safety programme in Mamelodi township in Gauteng. The programme consisted of five sessions covering topics such as law regulations and conflict management, self-defense, first aid, and fire safety.

The programme kicked off on 11 October 2023, setting the stage for an interesting workshop that delved deep into the core essentials of law, conflict management, and leadership identification. Through the LEMON exercise, participants discovered and harnessed their natural strengths, paving the way for effective community service. The session also placed focus on upholding the laws of South Africa while promoting harmony.

The second workshop followed a week later and focused on self-defense techniques. Participants dove into situational awareness, physical skills, and verbal tactics. In addition to learning basic self-defense tactics, their confidence and decision-making abilities were also boosted, empowering them to protect themselves and others.

The next two sessions were equally impactful. First aid training led by Elias Mdubanya and Lance Mello covered a range of essential skills, from CPR to managing allergic reactions, and empowering participants to handle medical emergencies effectively. The fire safety workshop, conducted by Ranyaka’s Ryan Marsden, equipped attendees with vital knowledge on fire safety basics, evacuation procedures, and first aid for burns.

As we neared the conclusion of the programme in the first week of November, our participants engaged in a powerful exercise — mapping crime hotspots in Mamelodi. They collaborated to find real solutions, receiving tools and certificates as a symbol of their dedication and newfound expertise.

None of this would have been possible without our incredible facilitators: Elias Mdubanya, Lance Mello, Ryan Marsden, and Rhulani Maluleke, the passionate Mams Mall branch manager from Nedbank. A special nod goes to Itumeleng Masethe, our Mamelodi local coordinator whose tireless efforts made this programme seamless and built strong community ties.

This community safety programme was more than a series of workshops; it is a ripple effect of education, empowerment, and community unity. We believe that the impact of knowledge resonates beyond these sessions and that equipping community members to build resilience in their midst sparks hope, is a catalyst for change, and a testament to community members’ potential to create a safer, stronger society.