Today, as I about to enter Sandton City for a meeting, from the Gautrain side, I passed a homeless man.
I have seen home people before but this one was in real pain.
He was trembling, more like when you are shaking from hunger.
He was lying down on his back facing the sky, shaking, as if having a seizure, too hungry, and too tired to beg.
That caught my attention. He caught my attention.
I passed him.
I felt so sad, hurt.
But what saddened me the most is that people passed him to and from Sandton City and walk-on.
This reminded me why I dislike Sandton City, it’s a place where you get to see extreme opulence in the face of extreme poverty and everyone seems to be okay with it.
People pass a homeless man, lying down, on the verge of dying from hunger, on the street surrounded by expensive looking skyscrapers, and everyone walks on by, as if nothing is happening.
When we pass a person suffering, visible in front of us and we feel nothing, and we dart our eyes and look the other direction, surely we cannot say we are human, we cannot call ourselves humanity.
As my mentor recently said:
“Humanity still has not learned how to be human.”
I didn’t want to believe him then, but after today, I’m convinced he is right.
Before you linch me for also passing him like everyone else, yes I passed him, went into the “fancy” mall, bought some food and gave him. The reason why I’m posting this is that, we can’t continue to be indifferent in the face of suffering.
We can’t look the other way and just walk on by in the face of suffering.
Will I do this again when I see him next time I’m in Sandton, I don’t know, probably not, but I know that a part of me will die every time I see situations of suffering and people pretending as if they don’t see.
I hope this will ignite in me [and in you] to do our little part, after-work, on weekends, as side-projects, that will go towards helping.
If you are doctor, take your stethoscope and just spend an hour [every second week], checking on homeless people’s health.
If you are hairdresser, spend a couple of hours giving a couple of homeless people a haircut on the streets, once a week, use your battery operated hair-clippers.
If you make clothes, I’m sure you can make something from your off-cuts for a couple of homeless people.
If you are a lawyer, maybe look at what bylaws can be made to provide shelter for homeless people.
I’m sure we can find things in our “busy” schedules that we can do towards alleviating the challenges of poverty and homelessness.
I’m not expert in this, but I know it’s inhumane to look the other way and walk on by.
In our busy schedules of taking selfies, checking in a fancy restaurants and attending fancy events with “VIP” people, blogging fancy articles, I’m sure we can still do our part in helping those less fortunate than us.
I’m aware that we need long-term sustainable solutions to poverty and homelessness, and but in the meantime, people are suffering now, people are hungry now.
In the wake of the banking financial scandal in South Africa, a friend I respect so much, Mme Rose Francis, wrote the following:
“Living in South Africa now is like understanding your relationship was never ideal yet you stayed for’ the sake of the children.’
Each day you get to understand what a lie you have lived. How much your home has been corroded. How much people you took to power, sold or stole everything around you.
It hurts Mzala! It hurts really bad. To see those grannies sleeping in single file waiting for the crumbs of what was to be OUR BANK!”