Tino from Pietermaritzburg living on the streets of Cape Town

I ran away from my mother’s place at the age of five, I came to the streets of Cape Town. Ever since then I never went home.

Why did you run away?
Because of my father, he was a man who liked to beat women. People tried to take me back but I knew it would do me bad to go back. I am not sure if I still have a family.

You have a girlfriend…
When I met her when she was 15, She is 18 now. I am 25. We never dated back then, she was just a girl I liked but I never told her I liked her. At that time I didn’t know what it was like to look after a woman, how to treat a woman. I didn’t know she was going to fall in love with me.

When I met her my life was about the ghetto, easy money to come, easy money to go. You just come to the streets from your sleep place. You just rob. That was the way I survived on the streets. I was in and out of prison because of the things I did like robbery. It was this time when I came out of prison three years ago that I met her properly. Feelings for each other got stronger. She started telling me more about her life. I told her to come to me anytime and I would help her, however, I could.

How did she land up on the streets?
She was staying in Manenberg, with her family. Things weren’t so nice. She came to the streets with her friends. My friends think I have thrown them away, everyone has a time in their life where they feel they have to go forward, they can’t live this life anymore. Everyone has dreams.

Having a relationship, is that what you mean by moving forward?

What is your dream?
I dream… I just wish to be a better person. For example, doing what is good towards other people. I want to do for other people I don’t want to do for myself it doesn’t make me feel lekker to do for myself. My friends don’t understand and I can’t talk to them. There was a time I almost jumped from the mountain.

What stopped you from jumping?
She was the one who stopped me. When I stopped I slipped and almost fell over. Lucky for a tree that stopped me falling.

You guys are going to have a baby soon do you want to talk about that?
No. I’m not sure if there was ever a baby.

What do you say to those who say living on the street is a choice?
That is not true, I don’t believe that is true. Some people never asked for their lives to end up on the streets. The people who are living on the streets do not a choice to, you don’t know why they are on the streets, get to know them and ask them.

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