*This conversation was captured on my walk to the shops – while wearing gloves and a mask, and practising social distancing. I am on full lockdown with complete commitment to this process. As we should all be. Stay home, stay safe!
Kagiso, so you know I make no money from your story or my site. I believe in the power of storytelling, which is especially important at this time.
Even me, I believe in storytelling it will change us and change the world and can change situations around us. Listening, I believe, is a skill.
Yes, yes, it is a skill. First off, are you okay?
I am working as a car guard; it is not something that I want to be doing. I am jobless and homeless; I do it because I need to eat. I must pull myself back from the streets. I am trying to earn small money to change my living.
Have you recently lost your job?
I was employed many years ago, not now. I was working as a security guard for (SA security company).
Why did you lose your job if you don’t mind me asking? I can leave this out if you would prefer?
No, it’s fine. I lost my job because I got sick. I had a problem with my mind, I don’t know what happened, but I ended up in the hospital. I stayed in the hospital for about three months, and when I came out, my job was cancelled; I lost my job.
When you say something wrong with your mind, do you mean anxiety? Depression?
Yes, I think it was something like that, depression… thinking a lot. It started to affect me and affecting my knowledge. I never knew who I was. I collapsed and woke up in the hospital and stayed there for three months, as I said.
Do you know that you have the option to go to a homeless shelter?
Why have you chosen not to go?
I choose not to go. Well, in the beginning, I wanted to go there, but on the first days when everything started, I had anxiety. I thought it was a good thing because the government has given a budget and then there is someone who took a tender from the government who says he is going to feed people who are in these shelters. Now, the problem is that they don’t get food. They only eat once per day.
In the shelters? Are they only eating once a day?
They give them porridge in the morning, and if cooldrinks come, they add those cooldrinks with water and things like that.
How do you know?
I was not there myself. I have friends who were there and came out because even some people passed away there. Four or three died in shelters around the CBD.
If I can find a shelter that will look after you, will you go?
Yes, I am prepared to change my life. I need to clean up my mind and start working and doing something better for myself.
*I have spoken to a few NGO’S who tell me that all shelters are full.