Bordered by NY1, NY111 and NY112, Hood 1 might be described as the arts and culture hub of Gugulethu. The newly appointed name, “Moerat” was submitted because Dr Adil Moerat, dubbed the people’s doctor, was murdered in his surgery in 1998. Incidentally NY 110, where Dr Moerat’s surgery is located, is also now named after Dr Moerat. Moshe Apleni, who manages the project in Gugulethu, said, “Moerat is a very suitable name for this hood, as the doctor not only touched the hearts of the people from this hood, but the entire Gugulethu community, with his selfless humanity.”
Memories in this neighbourhood are evoked of the Qavane Brothers who were well known for their choral and opera music – and who call NY 129 home. The Qavane Choral Society won several awards at national and provincial competitions, and the Qavane Choir is still an important part of Gugulethu.
The Ray Alexander Simons Theatre is part of the Ray Alexander Memory Centre Project. The project is a component of the Food and Allied Workers Union Gugulethu Development Project 2020 Vision. This theatre is set to become a key arts and culture centre in the area, and will offer opportunities for education to young people. The theatre aims to build self-confidence through drama and performance. For learners and educators, theatre offers new and interesting ways to approach academic subjects such as English, Music and History.
Equally vital components of this Hood are the Luyolo Community Centre and the Vuyani Clinic. The latter is situated on Ny 133 and is adjacent to the Nonkululeko Garden Project a community garden/soup kitchen in Gugulethu. They grow as many veggies as they can on their plot, then get subsidized food from the government to provide a free public meal to over 200 people every weekday. The whole project is run by women pensioners from the neighborhood. The ladies who run this project cook hearty pots of soup for TB and HIV patients in the area.
Liziwe’s Guest House is an establishment found in NY 112.
Hood 1 also has Gqudu’s Place at NY 116 , Pisto’s and Cash’s Sports Bar both at NY 112, which are three well known hang out spots in Gugulethu as a whole, Gqudu’s place famous for the Monday evening ” Boy’s holiday”, Pisto’s for his Wednesday Fish Braai and Cash’s Sports Bar being the number one place to grab a cold one and watch the featured soccer or rugby game.
Adding to the character of Hood 1 are the hostels which once housed the employees of various construction companies, after which the hostels were named – for instance, the Murray and Roberts Hostel, WJM Hostel, BKB hostel. These were single-sex hostels, but are now occupied by families.
The discussion of Hood 1 is not complete without the mention of Dr Moerat Street, formerly NY110, where Dr Moerat (dubbed “the people’s doctor”) was brutally murdered after a robbery at his surgery in 1998. Another memorable person is Amy Biehl, the exchange student who was murdered next to Duma’s Caltex service station. The owner of Duma’s Service Station, Duma is well known for his continued support to the community, through his sponsoring of a number of deserving children to institutions of Higher Learning.
Jeff Mali, former teacher and prominent PAC politician, hails from Ny 134. The charismatic Mzoli Ngcawuzele lives at Ny 111 in this hood, so does Thabo Tutu longtime teacher, who currenty works for the Western Cape Government as a Director of Sports Promotion.
Perhaps it’s fitting that this hood is the arts and culture heart of Gugulethu. Through collective, collaborative activities, we write our own histories, and so preserve our heritage.