STREET DREAMERS

IMG 1 / RASTA: “Before lockdown, I was selling my artwork for R50 a bottle and more. People know me – I even get orders sometimes. This coronavirus stopped me in my way. My business was growing, but I’m worried it will be finished when I get out. I just want to make my family proud. I don’t want to go home until I’ve made something of my life.”

How do the vulnerable and homeless survive the COVID-19 lockdown? Without television or a radio, isolated from friends and family and with few prospects to look forward to on the other side of the quarantine? There is no return to ‘normal’ for the street sleepers of Durban.

However, every homeless person in the city who sought shelter, 1 700 in total, has been given a mattress, a blanket, three meals a day and access to medical and psychological care for the entire lockdown period.

The Denis Hurley Centre is at the forefront of an incredible network of people and organisations fighting for the basic human rights and protection of these most vulnerable and outcast citizens of our city.

Full story on Daily Maverick.

For more info and to donate, visit: www.denishurleycentre.org.

IMG 2 / JP: “I usually live on Point Road and I swim in the sea every day. After lockdown I just want to get back in the sea. My dream is to become a lifeguard. I was a champion swimmer at school… look at my body. I was good at lots of sports – rugby, cricket, running. They used to call me ‘Monster’, which is why I got this tattoo on my back.”
IMG 3 / SANDILE: “I never went to school, I never had a chance to learn. Everything I know I have learnt on the street. I never liked to be a criminal, but my family never gave me the love that each and every child should have. So I smoked drugs. I tried to hang myself but it never killed me. Sometimes I feel lonely, I feel hurt, it’s like I don’t exist.”
IMG 4 / SMOKE: Street corner sages burn one down | Durban COVID-19 lockdown.
IMG 5 / MARSHALL: Marshall, the sportsman of the DJC shelter, keeps fit by chasing the soccer ball around the yard.
IMG 6 / STANLEY: Stan reads romance novels to help him get through the long days at the Denis Hurley Centre emergency homeless shelter.
IMG 7 / STAN
IMG 8 / RAYMOND. Above and below: Raymond the raconteur and instigator – he was often in the middle of any happening in the “churchyard”. Raymond was evicted from the shelter for selling blankets through the fence on the day of this portrait.
IMG 9 / RAY
IMG 10 / DJC. Downtime at the Durban Jewish Club homeless camp.
IMG 11 / CARDS. Casino – the only card game that flies on the street.
IMG 12 / THOUGHTS. Another game of Casino… Durban Jewish Club homeless shelter.
IMG 13 / MANDULO. Mandulo Ncobo is a member of a collective called the Creative Thinkers Poets Club, based in Umlazi township. Mandulo visits the different camps in search of talent among the homeless people and encourages art, craft, music and poetry. He’s inviting people from the camps to visit the Creative Thinkers studio after lockdown.
IMG 14 / PETER. Peter: “I will be sad when lockdown ends because I’ll have to go back to living on the streets. It has been very nice to get lekker food every day and to have a warm place to sleep at night.”
IMG 15 / CREW. Sandile and friends soak up the evening before they have to report to the dorms for roll call at the Denis Hurley Centre.
IMG 16 / CRICKET. JP with his mind in the game.
IMG 17 / TESS. Tess and Selena, the only women at the Durban Jewish Club homeless camp during the COVID-19 lockdown.
IMG 18 / LAWRENCE: “The lockdown changed my life, Corona changed my life. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get locked away from drugs. At first I was feeling like hanging myself because of the pain from withdrawals. But I’ve made it almost a month… now I can do 20 pushups no problem.”
IMG 19 / RYAN: “I’m from Eshowe, everybody knows me there. I’m the ou that shot two cops when I was 17. But my trouble started before then…”
IMG 20 / JOLLING
IMG 21 / BIG KID
IMG 22 / CHILL
IMG 23 / DOWNTIME
IMG 24 / THE ARTIST
IMG 25 / CHOW TIME
IMG 26 / CHURCHYARD
IMG 27 / MQOBI
IMG 28 / FAST BOWLER
IMG 29 / SLAM POETRY
IMG 30 / EMANUEL CATHEDRAL
IMG 31 / CASPER
IMG 33 / SANDILE ROSARY
IMG 34 / CHESSMATCH

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