Danny Oosthuizen, #TheDignityProject ambassador, in his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus tackles the struggles homeless people face. Picture: David Ritchie
The word “change”. Small, yet powerful. I found the following explanation on Google: “An act or process through which something becomes different.”

Things have been changing for South Africans almost on a daily basis over the last couple of years.

We went from the hated apartheid regime to a democracy with one of the best constitutions in the world.

But in all this we took advantage of our rights and ignored the responsibilities that came with our new-found freedom.

Humans in general do not like change. We are very set in our ways. “You don’t tell me.”

And we will never be happy unless we have a choice in all we do. In our city, there are many of us living life on a daily basis without choice.

Without a say in any matters concerning us. There are those who take the liberty (and responsibility) to decide where we will end up, what we will do, eat, wear and sleep. Helping people to become helpless.

It took me a very long time to find my little spot in the sun. There were other attempts, but I never really had the last say. It is like people gave me advice that would suit them, not as much as myself.

After years on the streets to finally have a place I can really call home is unexplainable.

So forgive me if I don’t want to contaminate it with anything that has reference to the streets. My past life.

I don’t even give people my address. You see, when you live on the streets you have no other option but to live with everybody, for survival’s sake. Like it or not.

Today I have the luxury to choose people who will allow me to prosper, and not just to see what they can get out of me. The need outside is big, and if you have you better share it or it will be taken from you in any case.

If I come across as selfish, forgive me. But I am not. I just enjoy my new-found choice. And take the responsibilities that go with it.

I am at a place in my life where I don’t want chaos. I detest noise. I love simplicity. My room is the start of it all. My signature will be all over it. Nothing in my space will be without sentimental value. I am connecting the dots.

My responsibilities are to keep the ugly I am familiar with, out. Fill it with blessings. To be able to maintain my room I have to be responsible at work. Without work, my world will once again collapse.

And I must go out and thank those who gave me my chance in life, in spite of all the shortcomings I had.

Those who saw some light in me when my soul was just filled with darkness.

Those who constructively told me in no uncertain terms to pull myself together and get on with life.

* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily 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