Curry and kindness served for homeless people

A local restaurant in Mains Avenue in Kenilworth has taken a step forward to defend homeless people around its premises­.

According to the owner of Ragamuffin Curry, Thinus Ras, some of their customers were complaining about destitute people hanging around during business hours. This resulted in them taking to their social media page to express their views.

In the statement he posted on their Facebook page Ras says: “It has come to our attention that some people are uncomfortable with the homeless people around our shop. This is an extremely complex issue, and has taken me two weeks to formulate a response. I do not think there is right solution, but we hope to take steps in the right direction. We will not chase anyone away for simply sleeping there, albeit ourselves or by phoning the police.”

He says they were amazed by the positive response they received.

For him, expressing their views was simple humanity and nothing much was expected­.

Ras says: “We have had an overwhelming positive response; hundreds of people encouraged us, and we have not received a single piece of negative feedback. We do not want to do business at the cost of some people­.”

He says the topic of dealing with homeless people is a complex and sensitive issue.

“I think most people want to have compassion with homeless people, but have either been hurt, or are completely overwhelmed by the problem of homelessness. When looking in the eyes of a homeless person, you do not have to solve the problem of homelessness, you just have to be kind to that one person. Allow your heart to be soft, and protect the softness of your heart with boundaries. Most of the times softness is appropriate, but there are times that can break your heart and make it hardened.”

He says they usually have an average of five homeless people a day and they are well behaved­.

Ras says since the start of the business in December last year they have built up a relationship with these people and have never had a problem. He says they serve food to the homeless when they have leftovers and they keep it to a minimum of one plate per person per day.

“An interesting dynamic has emerged. We are friendly to each other, but we also function within boundaries. We are a business, and the homeless people understand that. It has happened that people we do not know come and ask for food during service, and the guys we know will tell them not to come during service. The boundaries protect the relationship.”

Ras says it is this love for people that saw him leaving his mechanical engineering PhD studies at Stellenbosch University to pursue his passion of cooking and working with people.

He says he got his kind nature from his mother.