South Africa: 'Unwilling Politician' - Good Party's Carlos Mesquita On Personal Battle for Rights of Homeless in Cape Town

analysis

He believes his chances of winning the election are slim, but for Cape Town Ward 54 candidate Carlos Mesquita, the real win would be changing public perceptions about the homeless community.

Carlos Mesquita went from record company boss to spending five years on the streets of Cape Town when he lost it all to substance abuse. Now he is running for ward councillor in Sea Point, the same area where he "skarrelled" for a living.

"I am one of the few people that has got a lived experience of having a home and being homeless," Mesquita told DM168.

We met him on a sunny afternoon in Sea Point. There are no accurate figures for the number of homeless people in the area but estimates suggest more than 800. Cape Town has more than 14,000 people living on the streets.

Young Mesquita was an overachiever whose drive was fuelled by deep insecurities. "I had a Portuguese mother and a Spanish father. I was called a 'sea-ka**ir'. People didn't accept me as white at school."

He also struggled with his sexuality and was mockingly called "Nancy Drew". By the time he was in his early 30s, he'd opened a successful music store...

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