Community mourns homeless woman’s death

SOYISO MALITI

The Kuils River community is mourning the death of Rachel le Roux who lived on the streets and was well known in the area. She died on Tuesday April 5 in a parking lot behind a fishery in Voortrekker Road, Kuils River.

Ms Le Roux’s homeless friends had tried to help her as she lay on the tar coughing blood, but their attempts to keep her alive, failed.

Those who eked out a living with her, said her death has “left a huge void”.

Her daughter, Noena le Roux, said she felt horrible she couldn’t make it to her mother’s funeral on Thursday as she was in labour at Tygerberg Hospital, where she gave birth to a baby boy.

On the day her mother died, Noena said she constantly “felt like she had been calling my name…”

Noena said their relationship wasn’t always easy, but she understood that her mother preferred living on the street instead of their home in Sophiatown, Kuils River.

“It seemed to me she had preferred living at the parking lot.

“And she was happy there because she would say, ‘I am going to the parking lot, I will come back shortly’. She would not come back.”

Noena would visit her mother and take food and clothes. She said the pain of her mother’s death was made worse because she could not attend the funeral, which took place at a Kuils River farm.

“I feel very bad about that, even though it was out of my control,” she said.

Speaking to the Northern News at the parking lot on behalf of the homeless people, Monique Booysen said she met Ms Le Roux in the late 1990s.

“She was a nice person and would visit her family almost every weekend,” Ms Booysen said.

“It’s very sore that we have lost her.”Reminiscing about the good times, a visibly distraught Ms Booysen said: “We shared stories all the time. I am going to miss that. I took her like my mother and as a friend at the same time.”

Ms Booysen said they called an ambulance and tried to resuscitate her, but by the time the emergency vehicle took her to Tygerberg Hospital, she had died.

Ms Booysen said Ms Le Roux had shown most of the homeless people how to get by.

Joscelyn Beukes, a Highbury resident, told the Cape Times she had known Ms Le Roux for more than a decade.

The daily newspaper quoted Ms Beukes as saying it was fitting that the community gave Ms Le Roux a proper send-off.

“Just because she lived on the streets… it does not mean that she does not deserve a dignified sending off,” she said.

Ms Beukes often gives food and clothing items to the homeless people in Kuils River.