2018 - Ongoing
A New York Times journalist, Nicolas Kristof, once wrote an article about drinking dangerous water in third world countries. Thanks to the brief report, his wealthiest reader, Bill Gates, would devote his philanthropic attention to producing clean water in third-world countries. Kristof’s response to this was: “In journalism, we cover stories that happen today. We miss the stories that happen every day. We miss the stories of the daily struggles of life, and we miss the stories of daily success.”
The city of Cape Town in South Africa has almost 8000 homeless people, and there are only beds in shelters for about 2500 individuals.
You see them everywhere, sleeping on their carton boxes in corners next to the road. They stand at traffic lights begging for food or money or stroll aimlessly like ghosts around without a purpose or direction. The streets are dangerous and unforgiving, and the life of many individuals are at risk.
The homeless couple called Margriet Pienaar and Riaan Engelbrecht has been living opposite my house, on the streets, for more than twenty years. They inspired me to go on a photographic journey with them and other vagrants that scurry to get food in their bellies. Addiction, drugs and crime is part of their daily lives, but these things are only the symptoms of something more deeply rooted. Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom.
There are NGO programmes like Streetscapes that create a vegetable garden for the homeless to work in to get their lives on track. Other individuals like Beatrice Elizabeth Barret (73) provides shelter and food for 26 children in her house that come out of abusive homes and have nowhere to go. She put them in schools give them all the love and attention they don’t get at home.
This series is about life on the streets but also provides answers to “grow people” instead of looking away.