In B.C days – not millennia ago – just Before Covid, a friend and I were walking along the Spruit at Delta Park. We saw a man with a home-made poop-scoop, hard at work around the local land mark known as the Blue Bridge which crosses the Braamfontein stream. I was fascinated and went to ask who was employing him. Gentle and mild-mannered, “Moses” explained that he is homeless, lives in the Park and walks through daily to collect food from a soup kitchen in Blairgowrie (the neighbouring suburb). On his way he had seen at one of the main access points to park, there is a loads of dog poop. And so he was doing something about it. (South Africans are a strange bunch – often those who complain loudest about others not being law abiding and behaving ‘unacceptably”, do not see the effects of their own anti-social behaviour such as not picking up their own dog’s mess in a public place.)
With the opening of Parks for exercise 2 weeks back, I ventured down to Delta again for my daily walks to find a notice by a concerned citizen indicating that “Moses” is now selling dog poop bags. Yet another example of both community involvement and also how this impressive man with so little at his disposal, has been proactive in ‘making a difference’ despite his dire circumstances.
A few visits later I met up with him again. Previously I had not asked his surname which it turns out is Sithole. Then I asked him what name he was given at birth, he replied “Sifiso”. I asked his permission take his photo and said I would print it and bring him a copy. He asked that I label it Sifiso “Moses” Sithole asking me specifically to put Moses in inverted commas because he is only called by this name as people don’t remember his Zulu name. The Nelson Mandela Foundation explains: “Giving African children English names was a custom among Africans … and was influenced by British colonials who could not easily, and often would not, pronounce African names.” For more on colonial name taking.
Sifiso was born in Alexandra, is 32, lost his job as an office administrator in early 2019 and still lives in the Park.
So when taking your dog for a walk, maybe take some money in case meet up with Sifiso. He is certainly giving back and deserves more than recognition and a thank you.