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Community activist Zameka Faku died on Sunday May 24.

As South Africa marks Child Protection Week, Mitchell’s Plain is mourning the death of a community worker who had the rights and protection of children at heart.

Community activist Zameka Bereyl Faku, who died while waiting to be examined at Mitchell’s Plain community health centre on Sunday May 24, was among the first community workers in Tafelsig to be trained as a child youth care worker and was involved in a wide range of community work.

Fellow community worker Beatie Leng said Ms Faku had worked with everyone and “was an icon”. “She worked in the community for years. She worked with SAPS, neighbourhood watch. She was part of victim support and was chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) Tafelsig East sub-forum. She was a foster parent. She ran a safe house because she was passionate about children. I met her 20 years ago when I was working at the Heaven’s Nest in Ottery. She was a security guard at Hyper supermarket and we used to travel together.

“She was more like a sister for me. She was there for me to lift my spirit,” said Ms Leng.

Morishia Fortuin, Isibindi Impilo mentor supervisor, who worked alongside Ms Faku, said she had been a community leader in Tafelsig for more than 30 years.

“She was passionate, driven and always had the community at heart,” she said.

She resigned from Mustadafin Foundation to pursue her dream of opening her own safe home.

“This was her dream – to keep children safe and loved.”

Ms Faku served on Tafelsig clinic’s health committee and was one of the first to be trained as a child youth care worker in Tafelsig and was registered as a professional service provider for social workers.

“She was a fighter for children’s rights to the end and had a passion for child protection,” said Ms Fortuin.