Winter is living up to its reputation and sadly, the homeless are left to bear the brunt of it. Homelessness is a grave issue in South Africa and not much has been done to address it. As a result, many of the homeless are left in the cold every night and are forced to seek makeshift shelters. This leaves them vulnerable, unprotected and susceptible to disease.
Moreover, the homeless often cannot afford even the bare minimum needed for essentials like food and clothing. Some seek a meal and bed for the night through homeless shelters. But these places, despite being a shield from the harsh winter conditions, can be dangerous as well.
Sibusiso (17) sings at taxi ranks for a living and is currently homeless. He shared his experience of staying in these homeless shelters. Re-living the trauma, Sibusiso explains, “My belongings were stolen twice at night while I was sleeping at a shelter in Hillbrow, and because of this I prefer sleeping anywhere else but a shelter.”
Sibusiso was put out of his granny’s house. Since then, he has been roaming the streets of Johannesburg for almost four years now. He was raised in Orlando, Soweto by his granny and he never knew his biological parents. After the passing of his granny, his aunt took over the house and after a few disputes between them, Sibusiso was kicked out. With nowhere to go he turned to the streets of Johannesburg.
“Myself and a few other guys sleep in an abandoned building. We have a few blankets and we make a fire to stay warm at night.”
Homelessness remains high in our country and judging by the way it is being overlooked, people like Sibusiso will unfortunately have to continue to live in these conditions.
This article was submitted on 29 June 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.