Cape Town - Thousands homeless people in Cape Town will be spending Christmas on the streets this year.
While most of them are not looking forward to spending another holiday without a roof over their heads, some of them prefer to be on the street.
Gregory Jacobs has been homeless for 20 years. He said Christmas was an emotional time for him.
“There are times when you feel alone; sometimes you feel afraid to go home, and if you go home after a certain time you will be back on the street because people judge you,” said Jacobs.
Hilton Wier, homeless for more than 30 years, was placed in a shelter in Observatory, but would rather spend his Christmas with fellow homeless people. “This is my family, these people. I can’t forget them; they’ve been looking after me all these years and when I come here I appreciate them. I’d rather spend the festive season with them. I have a family, but they don’t even contact me, although they know where I am,” Wier said.
Cynthia ver Rhyner has been homeless for eight months.
“It’s not easy, but I feel happier here than being at home because I have too many problems at home. Sometimes I miss my family a lot, but I don’t get along with my family. My friends here make me happy and help me forget about my troubles. Here we have respect and we have love that we don’t get at home,” said Rhyner.
Deon Crouch from Kensington has been homeless for five years. He said he asked his family if he could go home for Christmas, but they refused.
“I feel so hurt; this morning I stood at the steps and I prayed to God to take me out of this situation. I have a 5-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter who I miss, and I can’t cope,” Crouch said.
Renee Williams said: “It’s almost Christmas, but this festive season isn’t like the years before, and I’ve been on the street for 35 years, so I know. I don’t know how Christmas will be this year because people don’t give like they used to. We also want a good Christmas, but you can’t visit family because they kick you out when you go there.”
Geraldine Rhode, who has been homeless for 22 years, said: “This festive season, I don’t feel well because I want to be with my children and my grandchildren, but circumstances have prevented me from being with them.”
Dawud van Wyk is from Mitchells Plain. “During the festive season I used to spend time with my parents and my family, but now I don’t have a direction and this has had a negative effect on my mental health. It’s been a difficult time for me.”