Rough sleeping
Big Issue|Issue 300
“Winters are the worst nightmare for us,” says a homeless man in Springs. Temperatures dropped to minus 7º C recently.
KIMBERLY MUTANDIRO

“I can’t remember when last I felt warm. It has been really cold of late and most of the time l lie awake at night staring at the sky,” says Hennie Dippenaar, who is homeless and sleeps under a tree on Ermelo Road, Strubenvale, in Springs, Gauteng.

“My frozen feet are my worst enemy. Nothing l do is ever enough to warm up my feet,” he says.

Temperatures fell to -7ºC Springs recently. Shelters are full. Some days of the week there are no soup kitchens and people are left to brave the cold night on an empty stomach.

Dippenaar beds down at 5:45 pm, early, before it gets too cold. He sleeps with all his clothes on, including his shoes. He makes do with two blankets, and his small, black cat which cuddles up with him.

“I’m glad if l can steal a few minutes of sleep,” he says.

JOB LOSS IN PANDEMIC

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