By Nelet Kok

Our lives come to a standstill with load shedding: phones die, no wifi, no traffic lights working, we buy dinner – because, cold food. And we make sure everyone knows we have load shedding.
Life becomes difficult.
Last week, Japie Krige, the Manager at Tshepo Community Development Initiative spoke on RSG (100 – 104FM) about being homeless: at Tshepo we service and help the homeless community to incorporate into life, again. Or for many, for the first time.
Along with covering the basic needs, we assist individuals to find work, to have the correct documentation to apply for a grant and guidance on to attend an interview.
The homeless have many needs: the most basic ones – food, shower, shelter & safety are what is often thought of.
But what about a need to deal with the trauma of being homeless? Understanding and preparing for a life, a “normal” one? Clothing for an interview? Education: how to go about making my life better by getting an education? Access to medical care?
These, plus all the safety issues, are what the homeless deal with everyday. They can be raped, beaten, their meagre goods stolen and along with the constant insecurity of not knowing where their meals come from, it’s a tough tough place to sleep every night.
Maybe the next time it’s load shedding and you’re sitting in traffic, roll down your window and greet the homeless on the corner.
Their lives aren’t different without electricity.
But a smile and a wave, might make them feel human and not just the strangers living on the side of life.