As lawyers battle it out at the Cape Town High Court over 'homeless fines', little has been said about the courageous street dweller at the heart of it all, who feels that living on the street and ill-treatment by the City has stripped her of her dignity - which she's fighting to reclaim.
Carin Gelderbloem has been homeless for close to nine years. After being moved from place to place, she's settled in a small corner of a Cape Town park. Two tents have been set up for shelter, housing her and a few friends who have now become family.
She's quite particular about her home, refusing to allow Daily Maverick inside her "messy" tent. Near the entrance, a few pot plants and ornaments make up the small garden area. Plush toys hang as Christmas decorations on a nearby tree.
"Before I'm a homeless person, I'm a human being," said Gelderbloem.
She is one of seven street dwellers who have hauled the City of Cape Town to court over street fines and the confiscation of personal property.
Carin Gelderbloem has lived on the street for close to 9 years. She says treatment by the City's law enforcement officers has violated...