My late mom used to jokingly tell my dad that I was bound to become a politician; she didn’t really understand eisteddfods and public speaking engagements.
When I was 13, I witnessed a racist incident. I declared I wanted to go to the PFP event at Sunnypark Shopping Centre in Pretoria that weekend to tell Frederik van Zyl Slabbert about it. Mom started worrying that her son would never become the doctor she had so hoped for.
By the time they found my copy of the UK music magazine and in it a photo of the banned “ANC terrorist” Nelson Mandela, she was convinced I would either choose a microphone instead of a microscope or worse still land up in jail.
Today I stand amazed, why oh why did she always have to be right?
I became all three.
By the age of 30 I had a lovely view from my apartment in Selborne Place in Sea Point. Twenty years later, I had a different room with no view in Pollsmoor Prison as I sat awaiting trial for either being in possession of drugs or possession of suspected stolen goods as life happened to me and I became homeless in Sea Point.
For over five years that was my “skarrel ground” and now, at 53, I realise my mother’s worst fear. A politician. At least one thing stayed a constant: Sea Point.
I have thrice refused to stand as councillor, but the 4th time I was asked, I was at my lowest of low ebbs in patience with the current leaders of the City when they again illegally raided and harassed homeless people in Sea Point.
As a homeless man who has suffered many indignities by this city, I have tried to believe that there are enough people within the party that want to see change and sincerely work towards a City that is caring and works for us all, but I now realise it's no longer possible.
I saw my passion for a caring and loving City in those leading the Good Party and became the unwilling politician.
Its not good to be actively associated to a political party in the work I do. It puts potential funding at risk, it is intrusive to say the least – my sexuality, my homelessness, my criminal record, my drug use – all of it will be brought to the fore and it will be justified as “in the public interest“.
There are people judging me right now that haven’t been homeless and haven’t got a criminal record, yet their crimes have had far worse impact on society as a whole than mine ever could.
My crimes, my anti-social behaviour (drugs and homelessness) are no worse than yours.
I have a story to tell and I want to see a better present and future for all.
“I have seen life from both sides now” and like in the column I have now been writing for a year (can you believe it), I want to share it with you.
The cat is out of the bag part 2 pic.twitter.com/dxoLflIgFA— Carlos Mesquita @TheRehomingCollective (@CarlosM18831329) October 3, 2021
🟠 [WATCH] #WorldHomelessDay: Carlos Mesquita, community activist & GOOD’s Cllr candidate for Sea Point in Cape Town, explains how he has moved off the streets & about the programme he runs helping others to live safely & with dignity.— GOOD (@ForGoodZA) October 8, 2021
LISTEN to Carlos: https://t.co/ZIyhHtbte7
Mark Rountree, Brett Herron and Suzette Little have their hands full with this unwilling politician and in all honesty, still on my laptop is the letter I was going to send them announcing my withdrawal again. But God works in mysterious ways and I know I can only enjoy my blessings if I am sharing them with others.
Patricia De Lille, Brett Herron, Mark Rountree, I believe in you and I believe in your manifesto and in your ability to prioritise bringing sincere trust, caring and unconditional loving back to this city.
That is why I didn’t send my latest email to you yesterday because more than anything else, I want to join you and see this city become a city that truly cares and works for everyone!
The unwilling politician.
* 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. He can be reached at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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