Death on the streets

22 Dec

Yesterday, Thulani John Dlamini died on the streets of Durban. He wasn’t a street kid, but he used to be – for many, many years. I know Thulani when I worked with street team in 1999-2000. He was living on the streets then. He was one of the first boys I got to know on the streets. Thulani got involved in Umthombo’s Surfers Not Street Kids programme (which I have blogged about before) and found a new passion – surfing. He came off the streets and began working at Umthombo.

Yesterday Thulani was stabbed. He died. Today was Umthombo’s Christmas party for street kids, filled with grief and loss as well as some Christmas cheer.

Thulani is the second death on the streets in as many months. In November, my dear friend JJ, who lived on the streets for 12 years, died from AIDS- related TB. And now Thulani has died – on the streets he managed to escape.

Street life is difficult. It is raw. Often dangerous. It has its own rules. Each child, young person and adult on the streets is a human being – feeling the same emotions as us, battling with life issues of friendship, love, survival, hopes and fears. They deserve to be given the same dignity that we afford to our own friends and family, those we respect and love.

Something must be done to ensure that young men like Thulani and JJ are not forgotten. RIP Thulani. RIP JJ.

Thulani………………………………………………………………….and JJ…………………………………………..

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