Reaching out to homeless

Reuniting homeless people with their families has led Busisiwe Papiyana to leave her job as an auditor and devote her time to working for the community.

Papiyana, 31, was an auditor at the department of roads and public works before quitting to work for the Ubudlelwane Enkosini foundation. She set up the foundation along with 12 friends when she was unemployed in 2009, but when she started working as an auditor the foundation faltered.

“I was more hands-on when I was unemployed and I had a lot of support from friends and people from other churches. Together we all went around looking for homeless people, asking them about how they ended up on the streets.

“Since we started, we have reunited eight homeless people with their families, and we feed about 100 every Saturday at an open field near the Anglican Church.”

Papiyana said she and the 12 members of the foundation each contributed R120 a month in addition to donations sent by friends and people from various churches.

They used the money to buy groceries for families looking after homeless people, and for their Saturday meals for the homeless.

NEW START: Ntsikelelo Jamangile, sitting, who was found on the streets of King William’s Town, has been given a decent shack and receives groceries from Busisiwe Papiyana, left and inset, and her foundation l To watch a video of this report, see instructions on page 2 Pictures: STEPHANIE LLOYD

“Some of the homeless were ill or had injuries and we had to take them to clinics for medical care.”

Ntsikelelo Jamangile, 51, was one of the homeless people rescued by Papiyana and her team. He was placed in the care of a family in Quzini and given a decent shack.

The family prepare meals for him. “Originally I am from Balas near Bhisho, and left home because of the high poverty. We used to fight over food so I decided to leave and adopted a spot near the Shell garage in King William’s Town, where these people found me.

“At the time I could barely walk because of a wound I had on my knee, but they made sure I went to the clinic, and I am well now, with a roof over my head, getting regular meals for the past year.”

Another homeless man, Edwin Veckerodt, 59, who camps near the Anglican Church, said he had been offered a home several times by Papiyana, but was reluctant to take up the offer because of his love of the “vibe” in the city centre. “I collect empties here and sell them; when I’m in Quzini I won’t be able to do that,” he said. “Also, I enjoy being in the city centre. But since I had a stroke .. .there is a minimal amount of things I can do, and I am considering taking up their offer.”

Nokwanele Makeke, 74, of Masingatha village, said she was the neighbour of an elderly woman Papiyana and her team used to help.

“She died of old age, but these young ones really looked after her very well.” —

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