Carlos Mesquita writes about an unpleasant experience he had when at a MyCiti stop a stranger was trying to entertain him by ranting about the homeless. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency
Carlos Mesquita writes about an unpleasant experience he had when at a MyCiti stop a stranger was trying to entertain him by ranting about the homeless. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency

It is strange that people enjoy ranting about what the homeless do

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 6, 2021

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By Carlos Mesquita

I find it strange that people seem to so enjoy entertaining others (or so they think) ranting and raving about the homeless and what they do or don’t.

This is more or less how one woman on Sunday tried to entertain me, of all people, a MyCiti bus stop and then further all the way from town into Oranjezight.

(I will try and do her justice without the cussing!)

“How I wish these lazy hogs would stop lying around just doing drugs all day. They make a nuisance of themselves, beg at every corner and every robot. Dare you refuse to help them they are vile and rude and often will try and rob you”.

I can unfortunately not be as ornate with words as she was.

That, is only what the homeless get up to in town. According to her, the homeless are so intent on irritating the living **** out of her that as we get closer to our destination, she proclaims that the homeless seem to follow her everywhere.

I promise you, this woman is well spoken, dressed in designer clothes, and wait for it, she is a neighbour who has in six months obviously not realised she has had these “vile vagrants” living next door.

She seems on every other level to be quite sane. In fact, had she not opened her mouth about the vile homeless, I would have said she is one classy woman.

She insists on telling me that the homeless trek back home with her every time she returns from town. Without fail, when she gets to Gardens, there is always someone urinating against a wall or exposing themselves to her. Then they are digging in someone’s dustbin, making an awful mess.

Then they will swear at her if she dare look their way and then they go off and do more drugs and beg some more.

They make one hell of a noise by the time they have done their drugs – “they are now high on this “tik” they use “she says. “Then they start building these ridiculously ugly structures they call “hokkies” and in the wee hours of the morning all you hear is alarms as they are again breaking into cars”.

They eventually fall asleep all over the pavements when normal people are already off to work.

I was dumbstruck! She had managed to described a whole eco system as if it daily travelled along with her. I really did not want to ruin it yet by enlightening her that she had just spent the best part of 45 minutes describing the “vile homeless vagrants” that “this new government of ours has brought into our backyards to drive us out” to a “vile homeless vagrant”.

Is it possible that this is why we are where we are with the issue of homelessness in Cape Town?

She confessed to calling “law enforcement” numerous times daily to report these “crimes”.

I understand that when these calls are made, the City has to act. I am also sure that some of the law enforcement officers would given the opportunity, just as soon attack her as they would the poor homeless persons who end up being the unlucky ones for the day. Unfortunately, she pays her rates and taxes and that gives her a superior voice and some power.

I am going out of my way to ensure that this lady gets to read this column of mine. I am hand-delivering it to her, with a note attached:

PLEASE JOIN ME FOR AN EYE-OPENING ADVENTURE: WEDNESDAY 8AM-5PM OR ANY OTHER DAY THAT SUITS YOU. ALL EXPENSES PAID DAY TRIP WITH CARLOS MESQUITA (YOUR HOMELESS NEIGHBOUR) AND ANY OTHER TWO GUESTS OF YOUR CHOICE.

And you, dear reader, will have to wait till next week to read the next episode of the “Great Gardens Galavant with a Hobo!

Looking forward to it? SO AM I!

* Carlos Mesquita and a handful of others formed HAC (the Homeless Action Committee) that lobbies for the rights of the homeless. He also manages Our House in Oranjezicht, which is powered by the Community Chest.

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

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