Primary Author: Katlego Noko Makhwiting
Secondary Author: Phillimon Sefake
Each year, thousands of South African youth run away from home, are asked to leave their homes or become homeless. Poverty and youth unemployment are critical issues in South Africa with homeless people begging at traffic light intersections in all major cities.
According to a recent estimate by the Human Sciences Resource Center, South Africa has approximately 200,000 street homeless people, a significant portion of the nation’s population of 53.5 million.
Have you ever walked outside and found someone sleeping under the bridge, or alongside the road on a cardboard box or under a tree? Have you ever asked yourself what could be the cause? Well, there are couple of factors that contribute to that. Not everyone you see homeless likes being homeless, but situations forced them.
Number one, domestic violence can lead one to run away from home, I mean it’s not easy to talk about abuse, so they instead run away from their abusers, how sad. Number two, sexual assault can also lead one to run away from home, mind you most people who are sexually abused at home cannot really tell anyone in the family because no one would believe them.
Another thing is siblings rivalry or discrimination against siblings from parents, most parents do not notice that but then it causes more harm than they actually think. Depression can also be another cause, for instance, you’re depressed because of family situations, you’re with that family day and night, it won’t be easy to heal, so the fastest option would be to run away from home, turn into a druggie and all those other things.
Teeny had arrived in the city few years ago, having run away from an abusive home situation. Some run away because of poverty. They want to forget their miserable lives and become worse by living on the city streets. Some run away from home because of their cruel step mothers and fathers.
I heard someone saying that he ran away from home because of his cruel step mom,she maltreated him to a point that he saw no other option but to run away from home hoping to find peace on the street,it’s sad indeed
Personal challenges like family breakups or substance abuse contribute to people becoming homeless. Women and children are the most vulnerable group on the streets. On various South African streets, children can be seen begging. Life on the streets is indeed very difficult.
But then is this the kind of life we want for ourselves and future generation? Mhhm,that answer you have in your head is the one I have in mind, and that answer is no, but how can we fight this battle, let’s try to communicate with trusted people and ask for help,if it’s sibling rivalry, sit down with your parents and siblings and burp it out, if it’s abuse, you can always go to the police station and report the matter if you think you can’t be able to talk to someone close to you.
We’re here to help you and not everyone you see homeless likes being homeless,but situations forced them. Running away from home is not a solution.
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