Mother vows to continue campaigning against knife crime after son’s death

·3 min read
Hawa Haragakiza attends a vigil in Woolwich (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Hawa Haragakiza attends a vigil in Woolwich (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

A mother whose son was stabbed to death while walking home in south-east London has said she will not stop campaigning against knife crime.

Hawa Haragakiza, 33, called for more to be done to prevent people from being stabbed to death on the UK’s streets.

Her son Tamim Ian Habimana, 15, was found with a single stab wound when officers were called to reports of an attack in Woolwich shortly after 5.20pm on July 5.

A vigil was held in General Gordon Square, Woolwich on Saturday (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
A vigil was held in General Gordon Square, Woolwich on Saturday (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Despite the efforts of the emergency services, Tamim was pronounced dead at the scene about 40 minutes later.

On Saturday, more than 100 people gathered at General Gordon Square in Woolwich to hold a vigil in his memory.

Friends and family wore black t-shirts with his name, birth date and date of death in white writing and the words “say no to knife crime” on the back.

Teenagers also held banners paying tribute to Tamim and calling for better safety in communities and the prevention of youth violence.

Several members of the community, including Imam Issa and Imam Swaleh from Greenwich Islamic Centre, also gave speeches and paid tribute to him.

Ms Haragakiza told the PA news agency: “I’m not going to stop [campaigning]. My son was all about peace and where I’m coming from, I’m all about peace.”

Asked whether she will take up her campaigning with politicians, she said: “Yes, there is so much more to come. We have to take this to the authorities because without them, we won’t go far.

Tamim Ian Habimana died after being stabbed in July(Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)
Tamim Ian Habimana died after being stabbed in July(Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Wire)

“We need their help and support to make noise about what’s happening with knife crime and what we can do to help the youth.

“This is so we can say, ‘We did our best. We tried’.”

She added: “I think everyone needs to do more to help. Parents should do more. The police should do more. The Government should do more. I’m not here to blame other people but they have to do more and we parents have to do more as well.

“No parent should be in fear of their kids going out. But it’s not just in London, it’s the whole country.

“Every parent needs to do what they can to make it stop. But not just parents though – all of us have to come together and do something about it.”

Ms Haragakiza, who described her son as a “very smart, responsible and witty boy”, said he dreamed of being lawyer or a businessman once he finished school.

Family friends Zaina Awes and Ize Leumbo said they were shocked about his death and were still coming to terms with it.

Members of the public at the vigil (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Members of the public at the vigil (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Ms Awes told PA: “He was a lovely boy. Very spiritual, very calm, soft-hearted young lad. She [Ms Haragakiza] used to say ‘We’re doing this today, we’re doing that’ and she’d post things saying ‘My handsome boy’. When I saw it was him that died, I could not comprehend it.

“I think she’s a powerful woman [for carrying on campaigning]. I keep asking her, ‘How do you do it? How are you doing it?’ If it was me, God forbid, I would be a wreck. But because she is quite spiritual, we help one another with prayers.

“We have young adults at home and we are restricting them going out. We say ‘Where are you? When are you coming home?’ If they are late we worry. It’s very scary for parents and them [the youths] as well.”

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