12 November 2009

Last night in Joburg city centre


Osama bin Laden is still my best friend in the whole world.
This was the writing on the wall. Trust stood in front this graffiti, having his soup and bread. He is from Zimbabwe and has been in Joburg for just over a year. He was a painter back in Bulawayo, but struggles to find work here in South Africa. The occasional ‘piece job’, off loading containers in the Newtown and Fordsburg areas, is what he depends on to survive. The weekly Wednesday night soup kitchens that are run by Paballo is his culinary highlight for the week.

Like the hundreds of other homeless people that live in Joburg’s city centre, he sleeps where he can. It’s not that bad now he said – things have improved since the harsh winter. All the ‘communities’ that existed since I first joined Paballo four years ago, have been split up. The abandoned buildings and properties where they had established themselves as communities, looking out and assisting each other, have all been reclaimed by the city administrators and owners.

The 2010 World Cup is coming and they want these homeless people out of the way so that the city can be poshed up for our many new international guests. Nobody seems to care where they go or what happens to them. I wonder if that has anything to do with why the person wrote that graffiti on the wall…

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