WEMBLEY ON PATH TO RESTORE DIGNITY TO THE HOMELESS

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By Thabiso Kumalo

  • Phakiso Victor Mohapi, a native of Klerksdorp and resident of Potchefstroom, North West Province, dropped out of high school in grade 10 to support his family financially after his mother fell ill and could no longer work.
  • Despite attempts to balance work and school, Mohapi eventually left school and worked as a waiter, griller, and barman in Potchefstroom. However, he lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mohapi ventured to Johannesburg without a plan and became homeless for about 8 months. Eventually, he found his way to Wembley Shelter in Maboneng, where he received accommodation, meals, and support in seeking employment.

Phakiso Victor Mohapi was born and bred in Klerksdorp and lived in Potchefstroom, North West Province. He is the firstborn to his mother, who has five children. He dropped out of high school in grade 10 after his mom had twins and got sick to the point where she could not work anymore.

Mohapi tried working and going to school simultaneously to help his family financially, but that did not work out. Consequently, he decided to drop out of school. Mohapi worked as a waiter and a griller in various restaurants in Potchefstroom, and he was also a barman. Unfortunately, he lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mohapi left his home in Potchefstroom in 2022 to look for a job due to his situation at home.

“I left home and went to town in Potchefstroom to look for a job because I have experience in hospitality. I thought it was going to be simple, but it was difficult, so I was reading this book, and it said that faith without action is nothing, which is why I decided to go to Johannesburg without any plan.”

He said he got a lift to Johannesburg with no plan of survival and no relatives in Gauteng Province.

“I arrived and landed at City Deep, then I went to Ghandi Square, and I saw the Ponte Building because I usually see it on television. I thought a plan would come up if I went there, and I did not, even though it was Hillbrow.”

Mohapi was homeless for about 8 months, and one day he went to Maboneng and met a recovering substance user who was once homeless and told him about Wembley Shelter.

Mohapi went to Wembley, and he was assisted by Social Workers, this included provision of accommodation at the shelter.

Mohapi says he is grateful for the opportunities he gets at the shelter. He further indicated that they receive various skills and three meals a day, which he really appreciates. During the day, Mohapi goes to look for a job and remains hopeful that one day he will secure a decent job.

 

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