The homeless man I met

Its Friday, lunch time and I stand outside. I noticed that the same spot I have occupied on the last few days is available. I must move, it’s peaceful there. The commotion of people, sound of birds and the soft winds make it priceless spot.

I sat.

Oh another drunkard is coming. Can’t a guy find some peace in Jouber Park! He is drunk, dirty and smoking weed.

He is coming towards me.

Upon seeing that he is heading towards me i quickly hide my phone and wallet which had less than hundred bucks. The phone most valuable asset is its torch and well perhaps the sim card. It cost less than R200 bucks, to be exact R149. It’s a lot hey, he probably saw my phone.

Thief!Thief!Thief! My heart and mind were singing those words as he came close to me.

"Hey, bra can i sit with you", he said looking in my eyes.

"Ja,yes", I nodded and mumbled.

At that very moment i looked if my belongings were tucked in. I later ashamedly realise that to find some superiority, some mental edge the poor look to the poorest with the same disdain the rich view them. The lashes the poor receive, he passes to the poorest.

Slaves have and create classes.

"Do you know Jesus?” he said with a smile.

What! I didn’t expect such a question. I thought he will ask for food. I thought he will ask for money. I thought he will rob me. I thought he will do something weird. No offence, he is a homeless drunkard. I thought. I thought and I thought.

But the truth is, i didn’t think. I judged. I imposed on him my stereotypical thinking rooted in my mind.

Before i could answer he continued: "Most people go to church looking for miracles and fires. My friend if you ever go to church look for Jesus and you will find him for Jesus lives in you".

Religion! Oh ok. ”Amen”, I gave a strong affirmation of what he has just said.

The men who stay in hostels are violent, the people that stay in informal settlements are lazy, all taxi drivers are rude and so on and on. But this man who is supposed to be a thief or beggar speaks of religion!

“Neville Alexander was a lion. A lion of Judah just like Nelson Mandela”, he says touching his old dreadlocks.

He talks politics.

He talks religion.

Perhaps, he talks humanity.

He stood up, took a last puff, put his hand on my shoulder and bid me farewell.

“All black people are lazy, illiterate and love violence.”” All Muslims are terrorists and hate Americans.”” All Russians are cold and emotionless.”” All Irish people have a drinking problem.” All Italians are in the Mafia.”” All fat people just sit around and eat and are lazy.”” All Cubans roll cigars.”” All Colombians are drug dealers.”

It goes on and on until it becomes the “truth”. It shapes how we view our world, we act it out without thinking and it shape who we are.

The homeless man I miss had a name, I don’t know it. The homeless person I met and miss was a human being, just like you and me-and other homeless people we meet.