Joy was written all over the faces of more than 30 adult job-seekers who eke out a living on the streets, when a local church showered them with food parcels on Thursday July 28.
These men benefited from the newly launched Roadside Men programme by the Thursday Manyano (mother’s union) of the Abednego Jafta Methodist Church of South Africa.
The parcels included bread, vegetables, perishable foods, rice, sugar and mealie meal .
When Vukani arrived at the corner of Govan Mbeki (which used to be Lansdowne Road) and Duinefontein roads in Gugulethu, where the gathering was held, there was singing and an air of excitement with some of the beneficiaries saying they were happy to see church people helping them..
Within a couple of minutes the queue became longer and longer. But the church members who braved the rain to provide parcels were up to the task.
After receiving his parcel, Michael Ngxabazi thanked the mothers for their gesture. “I am from Gatyane and have been struggling to get a job. But you have made my day and that of others who are here today. May you be blessed,” he said as Unathi Tswane joined him on the stage.
Mr Tswane said he came here from Mt Fletcher in the Eastern Cape with the hope of getting a job, but he has been unable to find work. “It has been a real test for some of us who came here thinking it is greener this side. But what these mothers have done shows us that we are not forgotten (and that) somebody is watching out for us and our challenges. I am hopeful I will get a job soon,” he said.
The Manyano’s chairperson, Mavis Wisani, said the job-seekers had recently been victims of crime and that some had lost hope. She assured them that jobs would one day be available for them.
“God will never forsake you. We know you are here, raining or not because you want to see change in your lives and those of your families. You should not despair but rejoice because you are at least doing something. You are not thugs who are waiting on corners to pounce on innocent people. You are not forgotten,” she told them.
Ms Wisani said she was happy to work with women who were willing to make a change in other people’s lives. She said they have identified spots where there are job-seekers. “Like many people, we have nothing but we can afford a plate of food. We are here to share that dish with these people. But we are also bringing hope to them. When they do not see us here, they need to know that we are on another corner. We promise to give what we can to them,” she said.
Nosisa Ndubela praised the men for having the tenacity to wait for work on the side of the road, for long hours, often with nothing to eat and encouraged them to persist until they were rewarded. “They stand here even on rainy days. But God created them to have life and live that life. They should appreciate that. We are here not because we are better than them but we have seen them and heard their cries. The little tat we are giving will make a difference,” she said.