"I decided to take a course through Amnesty International and I am proud to say I passed. Now I am better equipped and will be able to render factual support." File picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency/ANA.
There’s this piece in the Bible where Jesus spoke about the birds from heaven to his disciples. God provides them with everything they need. It’s like being homeless.

You see, you wake up in the morning in a family environment, get stuck in traffic on your way to a job (which you either love or loathe), and earn a guaranteed monthly salary to be able to drive that Benz, live downtown and wear clean, ironed clothes.

We, on the other hand sleep on cardboard boxes out in the open.

Depending on the security’s mood, we get woken around 4am with a kick in the ribs or shouting.

No matter where we go, we get told “move”.

If we’re lucky we can buy or score a R5 coffee on the parade. (Yeah, that R5 we asked for was really for a cup of coffee - maybe we should ask for 20 bucks, the amount you pay at some posh coffee shop. Problem is, we’ll never be allowed to enter. We don’t look or smell the part.)

Some of us go up to the station deck to score some tik - keeps the hunger at bay. Others fix up with whoonga. Unless you’ve lived on the street you’ll never understand.

A blurred mind just seems to help many cope and endure all the abuse coming our way. I hear you, but don’t take it in. You hit me, but there’s no feeling to it emotionally or mentally.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting drug use. But just like some of you pop a Valium or a Prozac to smooth the sharp edges, we do our own little thing.

Of course, yours is absolutely legal. We get locked up and walk away with a criminal record.

To find something to eat in the morning is a challenge. We can’t keep our recyclables on us to sell. They might get stolen or removed by law enforcement. We can push trolleys for the vendors at R20 if we’re up by 4am.

We can’t keep leftover food on us for the next day. The rats gets hungry too

We live in grace.

God will never forsake us. People might out of greed or spite bend over backwards to make life a living hell for us and harass us, lock us up and give us fines we will never be able to pay, but evil will never prevail.

About three years ago the homeless were in trouble. We were on the front page of the Cape Argus to raise awareness of the state of the homeless. The general public were horrified.

Good-natured people went out of their way to come to our rescue.

The homeless today are not like the homeless 10 years ago.

Time to get a new broom. The old one’s are out of date, not in touch with reality.

Where are all the EPW (Expanded Public Works) programmes promised to us?

* Danny Oosthuizen is the ambassador of #TheDignityProject. In his weekly column for the Cape Argus he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus