The new chairperson for the Athlone and District Subcouncil is Nazley Bester. Bester was elected chairperson of Subcouncil 17 yesterday (Monday, 19 June) at the subcouncil's inaugural meeting in the Rylands Civic Centre.
Subcouncil 17 serves Wards 46, 47, 48 and 49, which include areas such as Hanover Park, Athlone, Surrey Estate, Manenberg, Newfields, Rylands and Gatesville.
This is the first time that Bester, a member of the African Muslim Party (AMP), will hold a position in council. "Although I have not held a position before, I have been working with the AMP for 12 years," Bester says. Bester plans to take the bull by the horns in her new position.
"I am not scared to take on a new challenge and I will be relying on the expertise of my colleagues in council to help me along," the former resident of District Six says.
Having spent most of her early years in District Six, Bester grew up with close community ties and fondly remembers her father bringing home toys for her and the other children in the neighbourhood.
"My father was a builder and he would work on different sites. Sometimes he'd come home with lots of toys and all the children who lived nearby could pick a toy off the back of the bakkie," Bester said. Bester's father was also a founder member of the Mugamadie Khadari Jamaah, a community organisation that organised bazaars and other functions in aid of community projects. "I remember at the age of eight, frying fish at some of these functions and at the time I don't think we really realised that it was community work that we were doing," Bester says.
As a mother, Bester is driven by passion, with a special enthusiasm for social development issues affecting the youth as well as the aged.
"I love kids and am intrigued by the way their minds work. "Last year I helped out at a creche and I've also assisted with teaching at a Madressa (Islamic school), so social development is what I really want to focus on," she adds. "I also love older people, because I think they have a wealth of knowledge.
"We need to create opportunities for interaction between young and old so that knowledge can be shared." Other councillors present at the meeting included Abduragiem Orrie (Ward 46), Kenneth Lategan (Ward 47), Charlotte Tabisher (Ward 49) and Bonita Jacobs (proportional representative councillor). The area coordinator for the subcouncil, Edgar Corolissen, was also in attendance.