John Delcarme pictured with his 18-month-old son John, lives with his family under the Clovelly bridge
John Delcarme pictured with his 18-month-old son John, lives with his family under the Clovelly bridge

Farm attack victim turned activist, embraces homeless community

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Dec 31, 2020

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Cape Town - James Munro said as the victim of a farm attack in 2017 he was spurred into activism to bridge the gap between communities.

In his latest project, Munro has detailed the plight of John Delcarme, born on the streets of Clovelly in 1973 and currently still homeless, in a documentary.

Delcarme lives under a Clovelly bridge with his wife and 18-month-old son.

Munro made the short documentary on his mobile phone and posted it to Youtube after he encountered Delcarme on a trip to Cape Town.

Munro said his journey as an activist for the homeless began after he was the victim of a farm attack on his Barberton farm in 2017.

“It was very horrific, but I realised afterwards that it had a lot to do with misunderstanding between the community and farmers. In a small way, I wanted to contribute by bridging the gap,” he said.

He started working with the homeless in his area, and earlier this month, on a work trip, he met Delcarme.

“I met some street musicians in Kalk Bay who told me about John. As soon as I met this person, it struck a nerve. I saw the conditions he was living under, and learned that he had been there for three generations. His parents and grandparents died there, and here he is still living in the same conditions while we drive over the bridge to drink a whiskey that costs R100.”

Munro said it was time to break this cycle.

“This is a tragic story of a person born in circumstances that he has no control over, but rather circumstances that control his past, future and the life prospects for his children,” said Munro.

Delcarme, working as a car guard, recalled growing up homeless.

“I was born in the bush in the valley in 1973. As a young boy, when it started raining, my mom and dad came to the bridge to protect from the rain,” he said.

At around seven years old, Delcarme said the government gave his family a house in Mitchells Plain. However, his parents later separated, and he followed his father, who was disabled.

“My dad came back to Fish Hoek, where he comes from. I did not go to school and ended up in crime. I became a gangster and ended up in Pollsmoor prison for 15 to 17 years of my life. Poverty pushed me to commit crime, but that is my past.

“At this point in my life, I just want a better life for my child. I don’t want him to go through the same as me. I am tired of living on the street,” he said.

Anyone who can assist Delcarme can email Munro via: [email protected] or call 068 582 1406

Cape Times

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