A talent show with singing, dancing, modelling and acting, at the Parow civic centre, on Tuesday, placed the spotlight on homelessness.
It was organised by the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID), Mould Empower Serve (MES), Parow Centre of Hope, The Haven Night Shelter and the Paint City Safe Space as part of World Homeless Day, which is observed annually on October 10.
”World Homeless Day is an opportunity to make the public aware of the homeless situation in our area. It’s not supposed to be a festive celebration because we don’t want to celebrate homelessness, but we are celebrating the homeless individual who is really surviving every day on the streets,” said Wilma Piek, VRCID social development manager.
“The people present are all homeless people who have moved off the streets and are in shelters and programmes to rehabilitate themselves. So we are very proud of them.
“They actually requested that we do something fun because they are so fed up with all the programmes. So we listened to them when they said that they wanted to have a talent show and a fashion show and that is what they did.”
Franita Knudsen, from MES, said the show was a way to remind the homeless that they had the potential to achieve their dreams, and it was also “a welcome diversion from the harsh realities of their lives”.
Tristan Hendricks, of Ravensmead, won the Mr Talent first prize. He grew up in Johannesburg and moved to Cape Town in his matric year.
“I had a great life all of my childhood, but growing up, life took a bad turn. The choices I made led me down the wrong paths, and I fell into drug addiction and became homeless.”
Living on the street had been terrible, especially during winter, he said, adding that he would like to use sport to help children from disadvantaged communities and encourage positive masculinity in boys.
“At the moment, I am trying to rekindle with my family and my children whom I love dearly. With life going forward, I always tell myself my life can only get better each day. No matter what type of day it is, good or bad, life can only get better.”
Ms Piek appealed to the public to give responsibly by purchasing a MiChange voucher or a Haven Passport, which help to provide the homeless with food, a shower and a place to sleep.