The City of Johannesburg and non-governmental organisation New Acropolis as part of the Chow4Change initiative recently organised a luncheon for displaced people in the Inner-City.
“It was such fun serving our displaced residents of the City of Joburg. Their appreciation was priceless. This took me back to my first job as a waitress after my matric exams. To serve others is indeed the highest honour,” said MMC Phalatse.
The City’s special guest, musician and former prisoner Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye, shared a moving testimony of lessons learnt from his past mistakes. He urged displaced people to refrain from a life of crime and drugs. “The thrill of a three-minute high can lead you to a lifetime of hell.”
The director of New Acropolis SA, Guy Hazon, said Chow4Change aimed to restore people’s dignity and self-worth. “We’re not a soup kitchen. What you see today is a culmination of two months of behind the scenes work. Chow4Change is a strategic initiative that aims to give displaced people a shower, new clothes and a choice of meal. In that way, we’re helping restore their dignity.”
“For the first time in my life, I was not treated like a basket case. I was not another statistic. There was botho and not pity in the eyes of the people who helped me look good and fed me today.”
These were the words of a beaming Meisie Thokoane.
Thokoane said she had been living in the streets for the past seven years after her husband and his sisters had chased her out of her Klipspruit, Soweto, home when she refused to allow another woman to share their marital bed and bear the family boys. She is the mother of three young girls she last saw in July 2011.
She joined hundreds of displaced people who had been invited to City’s 3 Kotze Overnight Shelter and given a shower, clothes, dignity packs, a photo shoot and a full on restaurant experience whose waiters included Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse.
Kebonye Senna, the Sub-Unit Head of the City of Joburg’s Displaced People, urged residents not to give the homeless expensive items as most of them end up being resold for a “fix” on the streets. She instead called on residents to deal directly with her unit.