Cape Town, South Africa

Surviving through friendship

Known as a compassionate and kind man with a love of nature, Jerald believes in living in peace and being understanding of each other. On his own, Jerald was an easy target to gangsters who would attack him. Forming friendships on the streets has been a critical survival tool as they each take care of one another.

Photography: Phinius Sebatsane
01-06-2021
Est. 2 minutes

Jerald Prinsloo, now 71 years of age is from Wynberg, Cape Town. He was raised by his grandparents and worked alongside his grandfather on the Railways, eventually becoming a Security Guard and then later, a Beach Ranger.

Following the death of his grandparents, Jerald fell into homelessness.  He tried to find refuge at a shelter but eventually, for the sake of his own mental health, decided to leave.

Using boxes and blankets to form a makeshift bed, Jerald sleeps outside the Fish Hoek Post Office at night. By day the NET provides a safe community space and a meal. 

Jerald’s eyesight has been gravely affected after a fight with a friend, which resulted in the loss of one of his eyes. On his own, Jerald was an easy target to gangsters who would attack him. Forming friendships on the streets has been a critical survival tool as they each take care of one another.

Known as a compassionate and kind man with a love of nature, Jerald believes in living in peace and being understanding of each other. 

With a small pension from the state to support his life on the streets, Jerald spends his time reading and gardening to keep his mind sharp.  He finds peace close to the ocean, watching and listening to the waves and feeding the birds. 

With the cold Cape Winter on its way, Jerald is appreciative of the shelterbag and that it is rainproof. He will be storing his shelterbag away at the NET center with his few belongings during the day for safekeeping.

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About this project

For this ongoing project, we engage with unhoused communities in various cities. The intimate documentary reflects the unraveling of society and exposes the equal measures of strength and vulnerability of each of its characters.

By capturing these raw moments in a new light, we challenge the mainstream representation of a growing, forgotten group. It reminds us that people who experience homelessness should neither be labeled nor disregarded. Everyone has a story to tell.