Standing at a busy intersection, stand two young boys. Their dirty faces and filthy clothes speak volumes of the hardships they face.
Begging for money and relying on the charity of passing strangers, these youngsters face a lifestyle many children their age cannot imagine. At times, scrounging in refuse bins for food, hoping to satisfy their growing hunger.
As night falls, they make their way to Trim Park and look for a comfortable place to sleep on the ground. Their only warmth comes from a makeshift campfire and old rags used as blankets.
Sbu Khumalo is 12-years-old and has allegedly been living in Trim Park for the past five days. Where are his parents or grandparents? Is there no one to care for him?
“I come from oSizweni and I don’t have a mother or a father. I beg at the traffic lights so I can get money for food,” he says quietly.
How does a child of 12 years survive on the street?
Sbu says it is a difficult life, claiming that the older homeless people often target him and other children who live on the streets. “They don’t always steal from us, but they do hurt us,” he claims.
Simphiwe Nyembe, 13-years-old, begs alongside Sbu at the Allen Street and Hardwick Street intersection.
Like Sbu, young Simphiwe claims he has no form of family. “I have been living in Trim Park for six days and I come from the mountains,” he says shyly.
With the two relying on their wits to survive, their lives on the street are not an easy one. Unlike their peers, school and a comforting hug from their mothers is a distant memory.
While they claim not to be the only youth living on the streets, Sbu and Simphiwe claim they yearn for a warm meal, decent clothing and a loving family. Something many take for granted.
Until they find an escape from the life on the streets, realising their dreams of having a family, they will continue trying to survive.
So the next time you drive past children such as these, do not be quick to judge and ignore. A meal in their world, or a bit of care means more than you could ever imagine. Be a hero to someone!