The lost son

I came back earlier from trying to help the family of a guy who died this afternoon. His homeless friends had been trying to get help for him for the past four days. They had tried taking him to the hospital, but were apparently chased away. They had tried several times to call an ambulance, also over the last 4 days, but not one came.

A homeless friend of mine saw me at Mac Donald’s, where I had taken the children for ice-creams and asked for my help. We started to walk to the place, but I did not want to take the kids there as the area was not safe. I said to him I would come back later.

I did not realize how serious it was and so only managed to go back at 5:30pm to find out he had died at about 1pm. He was lying in the back yard of an abandoned building under a large pile of rubbish. His family members, from Soweto, had been sitting on the pile of rubbish, where his body lay for the past 4 hours trying in vain to keep the rats away. They had also been trying to get the police or ambulance to come out, but as is usual in Hillbrow, they did not respond.

We carried his emaciated body off the pile of rubbish and put him on the side of the road and covered him with a blanket. We managed to get the police to come out and I phoned the ambulance again. The ambulance arrived just after 8 to declare him dead and then his body was taken away.

The man was just 30 years old. his sister says he had stopped taking his ARVs and had run away from home. His father is apparently a wealthy man with 3 homes. He had a room for him in one of them but the man had run away repeatedly.


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