Cape Town - His daily journal of his life on the streets has touched many hearts, and now Danny Oosthuizen has been offered a weekly column at the Cape Argus.
Oosthuizen has been “speaking from the heart” in daily journal entries which were published in the Cape Argus as part of The Dignity Project since April 11.
On Thursday, while submitting his final entry, he was told about the offer, and accepted it.
“It’s all very surreal, something I thought would never happen. I’m not even a professional writer, but what I learned is that when you write you are speaking from the heart and everything else follows,” said Oosthuizen.
Deputy news editor Lance Witten introduced Oosthuizen to The Dignity Project and the Cape Argus.
He was tasked with writing 15 diary entries which would be published daily three weeks.
His first paid-for column will be published on Tuesday.
Cape Argus editor Gasant Abarder was one of the first people Oosthuizen met at the paper.
Abarder said: “When Danny walked in here he couldn’t look you in the eye. Now he is brimming with confidence and purpose.”
Abarder said since the start of The Dignity Project, the Cape Argus has been used as a platform for homeless people to voice their issues.
Oosthuizen’s has been living on-and-off the streets for the past three years.
He said the new job, which comes as a challenge to him, would provide some structure to his life.
“To write a weekly column, my responsibility for people out there has not changed, but has intensified my focus on the issues that I have written about. When I see people in dire situations I will be able to make society aware, and that comes with a huge responsibility,” said Oosthuizen.
He has now moved off the streets and is living in a shelter in Oranjezicht, but said he often passed where he lived and kept in contact with other homeless people.
“I walk everyday deliberately through the spaces I used to live, meeting people that I used to live with.
“I just want to write about real people and real situations.”