South Africa: Down and Out in Johannesburg - Understanding Homelessness


Sunday 21 March is Human Rights Day in South Africa. One of the rights in our Constitution is the right of 'everyone to have access to adequate housing'. And yet homelessness is growing. In a series of articles being published over the next three days, Maverick Citizen asked homeless people to write about their experiences. First, an overview of the homeless crisis in Johannesburg.

There is a stereotype of a homeless person, sometimes called a street- or rough-sleeper. He is a man. He's a loner and a beggar, mentally ill or "immoral" and helpless. If he sleeps under a bridge, in a park, or in a shop doorway, he is most likely a drug addict or an alcoholic. He doesn't have a job, is lazy and has no family or friends to help him.

In reality, people who are nothing like this become homeless. In Johannesburg, there is an extreme shortage of affordable accommodation. Unemployment has skyrocketed and if you are not working and don't have a regular income, it's almost impossible to find a permanent, decent and secure place to live in a central part of town.

Gladys Qhoba has lived on the streets of Johannesburg for more than...

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.