What started out as a light music session for about six on-lookers in Long Street every Friday has now turned into a full-on ministry and feeding session with almost 20 people attending, and the volunteer group is desperately seeking support to help those in need.
As winter approaches, David Maneveld and about six of his friends, who make their way from Goodwood to the Open House on the corner of Long and Dorp streets with two pots of soup and their instruments weekly, are appealing for support from the community to help them with blankets, clothing or food for the poor and homeless people who gather with them.
“We are all either unemployed or receive a disability grant, but by some miracle, every Friday we manage to put together a warm meal for the poor people,” said Mr Maneveld, who is from Goodwood.
He said a group of them, all from different churches, started an outreach programme about two years ago because they felt that churches in the area were not very involved in sustainable community programmes.
“We started where we stay, in Goodwood, but we wanted to do more, so we decided to come to Long Street to make more of an impact.”
He said when they first started, there were about eight people coming to watch them play weekly, and they provided a meal for those who came.
“Even the people who came from the parties came to watch us play and pray for the poor. We just thought we would do something special to alleviate the pain and suffering in the city, and bring some joy into people’s hearts.”
Soon after, the police pointed out to them that they did not have the required permits, but they were told that the red Open House, where they play from now, was a democratic area, so they moved there.
“We have now got permission to stand here, and we are in the process of getting the correct permits,” said Mr Maneveld. “We want to put speakers up to attract more people and help make a difference in their lives.”
Morne and Zurina van Rensburg joined the group about three weeks ago. Ms Van Rensburg said: “I have always had a love for street ministry. I tired to start an outreach programme in Goodwood, making sandwiches and handing them out to people, but I believe there is strength in numbers, so we joined up with David and the rest.”
She said while she had only been part of the group for three weeks, she had seen the number of people who come to watch, grow.
Graham Oosthuizen, who plays with Mr Maneveld every Friday, said they try to reach out to people who need them. “It’s an opportunity for us to make a change in people’s lives,” he said.
Church elder John King said it was important to intervene with faith.
“If we look at the situation and issues in the world today, it is believed that the end is near. I preach to people and try to show them the right way, and talk to them about making good choices for themselves.”
Asked why they chose to run their programme from Long Street, Mr King said: “Here in the city, and in Long Street, drugs and prostitution float around. Some people drink uncontrollably. There are so many bad things happening in the world today, and we want to try to make people aware of this.”
He said while things like this happened in their area as well, in Long Street, there was more foot traffic and they felt they could have a bigger impact there.
Marcelino Olifant, who came from Oudtshoorn to find a job, said he had been sleeping on the streets of Cape Town for two months. “I lost hope because I couldn’t find work. My feet were aching from walking, and I was looking for a way out, back to Oudsthoorn.” He said he told Mr King his problem and he prayed for him. “I sat here and felt the blessings over me as they prayed. This week I found a job in Hout Bay. I am so grateful to them for their support and for believing in me,” said Mr Olifant.
If you would like to help, you can contact Mr Maneveld on firstname.lastname@example.org or 084 436 5877.