Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                     

ARCHIVES   [Part 1 of 2]

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in South Africa.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.


Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless

Rebeccas Community -- This is for anyone aged up to 13 years old who is thinking about running away

[accessed 21 July 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 Hours - it doesn't matter what time you call  In South Africa, call 0800-05-5555

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 23 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In urban areas, children work as street hawkers, especially around taxi stands and near public transportation, and as car guards.  There are reports that child prostitution is increasing.  There have been reports that some cities are becoming destinations for tourists seeking sex with minors

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

CHILDREN – The government was generally committed to children's welfare. The law provides for greater educational opportunities for disadvantaged children‑‑traditionally black South African children‑‑through a uniform system for the organization, governance, and funding of schools. It mandates compulsory education from ages 7 to 15 and ensures that children cannot be refused admission to public schools due to a lack of funds. According to the 2003 Statistics South Africa General Household Survey, approximately 97 percent of children between 7 and 15 years old were enrolled in school. Those not enrolled tended to be children with special needs

The government donated land and buildings for various shelters for victims of sexual abuse, street children, and orphans.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 2000

[accessed 23 December 2010]

[18] While the Committee notes that the principle of non-discrimination (article 2) is reflected in the new Constitution as well as in domestic legislation, it is still concerned that insufficient measures have been adopted to ensure that all children are guaranteed access to education, health and other social services. Of particular concern are certain vulnerable groups of children, including Black children; girls; children with disabilities, especially those with learning disabilities; child laborers; children living in rural areas; children working and/or living on the streets; children in the juvenile justice system; and refugee children.

Three Free State street kids burn to death

South African Press Association SAPA, 27 September, 2010

[accessed 22 July 2011]

[accessed 5 January 2017]

It was suspected that an argument started between two groups of Bloemfontein street children on Sunday.   The fight continued on and off during the day but the dispute turned serious when a group returned to the empty buildings at Ramkraal at 1am on Monday. The empty buildings at the complex are used by the street children to sleep at night.

It was alleged that petrol was used to set another building alight and three boys - known only as Sgantsontso from Durban, Tisetso from Freedom Square (Bloemfontein) and Lehlohonolo from Welkom - were killed in the fire. They were between 15 and 20 years old.

Street Child World Cup

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Millions of vulnerable and marginalised children throughout the world today are left with no option but to live on the streets. Deloitte Street Child World Cup aims to give these forgotten children a voice and to campaign for their rights.

DURBAN 2010 - Street children from eight countries came together in March 2010 to find their voices through the global language of a game they love. The inaugural Deloitte Street Child World Cup saw teams work with specialist coaches to express themselves on the football pitch and with artists who enabled them to tell their stories in new and creative ways.

Zimbabwean girls seek opportunity in South Africa

Donna Bryson, The Associated Press AP, MUSINA South Africa, May 13, 2009

[accessed 15 October 2012]

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Sofia Chimhangwa, a 14-year-old in a denim skirt, lies on the concrete under a filthy blanket. Her 15-year-old friend sits next to her, braiding a legless Barbie's hair. Sofia says she survives because the other girl's 19-year-old boyfriend helps feed them both when the coins they beg don't stretch far enough.   "We shouldn't be here on our own. I know that," Sofia said. Her big sister helped her get to the border from Zimbabwe's capital Harare. After eight months in this border town, Sofia is not ready to go home because she cannot yet take money back to her widowed father.   She is among an increasing number of young Zimbabweans setting out on their own to escape their homeland's economic ruin, bringing both a child's naive sense of invincibility and a grown-up desire to help their families.

Musina is "not a good place," Tracy said. "There are no jobs. There's no place to stay. A lot of robbery. Girls are forcing themselves into prostitution to get money. And others are forcing themselves into temporary marriage, to stay with boyfriends for security."   However, she said she would not discourage any young Zimbabwean girl from coming here, adding she would likely return herself one day — a measure of the desperation in her homeland.   With an economic free-fall, collapsed hospital infrastructure and deadly cholera epidemic, aid agencies are feeding most of the population in Zimbabwe. For many Zimbabweans, the only road to survival remains the one leading to South Africa.   First, men left in search of work. As times got worse, women, too, had to leave. And finally children.

Children flee Zimbabwe to uncertain future

Justine Gerardy, Agence France-Presse AFP, Musina South Africa, Jan 11 2009

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Prince Jelom has sold eggs, carried bags and pushed trolleys to survive life as a 13-year-old on the run from Zimbabwe's spectacular collapse.   He knows the best spots to sleep in a bus shelter, how to work an 11-hour day, and the tricks of bluffing his way back across a border after being deported.   But beyond his streetwise know-how, Jelom is just a penniless small boy who misses and worries about the grandmother he left behind in rural north-western Zimbabwe.   "I ran away on Wednesday, October 15, because I wanted to buy some books, clothes and a bicycle," he told Agence France-Presse in the border town of Musina, after travelling solo through Zimbabwe.

Jelom is one of 100 Zimbabwean children sleeping in a crowded tin-roofed garage at a Musina church, set up as a shelter for scores of young Zimbabwean boys found wandering the streets.   Living rough, often eating from rubbish bins, the street children are casualties of the worsening crisis at home where deadly cholera has come on the back of chronic food shortages, mind-boggling inflation and the collapse of hospitals and schools.

Therapy surfing for street kids

Claire Keeton, The Times, Dec 12, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 July 2011]

UMTHOMBO’S surfing club plays a true therapeutic role in the lives of street children connected to the project, says its CEO Tom Hewitt.   Sunday Times reported this week how Umzumbe surfing hero, Sandile Mqadi, is using the sport (the stoke) to reach out to youngsters in Durban and transform their lives.   Take orphaned Lucky Nosasali, 18, who admires his coach Sandile. Even though he sleeps on Durban’s pavements, he came eighth in a regional surfing competition recently.   Hewitt says: “All street children are traumatised... Umthombo Street Children are using surfing as a catalyst to get children off the streets and back into their communities.   “Already a number of those who were surfing (which is part of the relationship-building programme) have left and been re-integrated.   “We targeted the hardest glue sniffers. We wanted to give them another addiction — and we have seen the glue dropping away.   “As they got so into surfing, they could see the glue sniffing was harming surfing so some stopped sniffing at all and some were (down) to using it 20% to 30% of the time.”   Hewitt says that riding the waves also helped to clear and “free up” their minds so that they could benefit more from therapy back at the “Safe Space”.

Umthombo is also unique in that it is mostly staffed by former street children who know the immediate needs of vulnerable children and have been trained in child and youth care.   Fifteen of the 27 employees formerly lives on the streets.

Children under the sun

Rupi Mangat, the Nation newspaper, Nov 12 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Dagoretti is a slum area in Nairobi where Amref has its children's centre. At any time the centre is jammed with kids ranging from three years to early 20s getting their musical band ready for the day's practice.

Elizabeth Nyawira is a tall, lanky girl in the Jua Kali Drummers. About 15 years old and from a poor family, she took to the streets a few years ago, rummaging through bins for food and to salvage what she could to sell to the scrap buyers. "That's where Amref found me," says the budding musician.

Daniel Njoroge (23) was an angry, aggressive youngster when he came to the children's centre. His survival during his life on the street sometimes meant feeding on cat carcasses. He was also on a constant high from drugs. Now he's not only back at school but also training 15 street kids in music.

Cold drives kids to shelters but streets beckon in summer

[Last access date unavailable]

Where have all the street children gone? If you have wondered about the sudden disappearance of the children who used to beg at traffic lights and car windows, then blame the cold weather.  Shelters say there has been an increase in the number of children looking for refuge.

“We‘ve noted that every year between June and August more children come here for shelter because it‘s usually cold out there in the streets. We give them blankets, mattresses, warm clothes and food.”

She said in summer the children often returned to the streets.

Claudio, 16, who has been in the shelter for the past two months, dropped out of Missionvale Primary in Grade 5 last year.  His grandmother died last year in October, “but that‘s not the reason I landed in the streets. I think it‘s the bad decisions I made and (bad) influence from my friends,” he said.  “We make money by begging, or keeping an eye on parked cars. When we have money we buy drugs like dagga and mandrax. We sniff glue to keep our bodies warm in winter because it becomes impossible to sleep in such cold conditions covered by plastic or cardboard boxes.”

Street children building new lives for the elderly

[Last access date unavailable]

Street children and other youngsters at risk are to build homes for elderly people living in dilapidated shacks in Knysna.  Youngsters at Sinethemba, a day centre for street children in Khayalethu on the outskirts of Knysna, are receiving carpentry lessons from local pastor Faan Muller and have built workbenches and a workroom at the centre.  Sinethemba provides meals and lessons which include numeracy, literacy and life skills. It does not provide overnight accommodation and street children are collected in town each day.

We watched cops beat kids

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, July 3 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

"I work for a children's rights organisation in the UK called Street Action and have been to Durban on previous visits to liaise with local NGOs that work with street children. I hardly thought I'd be confronted by blatant human rights violations while on holiday here, though.  "I raced outside and across to the hillock opposite the museum, and saw three Metro police officials lashing out at the children with sjamboks.  "My wife was documenting the events with her camera cellphone from the flat, and filmed the burning of the children's clothes and other belongings by the police officials.

Police did not beat streetkids

Barbara Cole, Independent Online (IOL) News, July 7 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

But the Daily News reader, who watched the proceedings from her flat in the nearby Caribbean block of flats, was adamant that while the police burned the children's rubbish, plastic and cardboard, they did not hurt them.  The children, whom she thought were aged between 12 and 18 years, had been in the same area for weeks, hanging up their clothes, urinating and littering the area. They also used a nearby tap and left it running, she said.

Food first, then we talk politics

Katlego Moeng, The Times, Jun 23, 2008

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Despite the cold weather, Vusi was wearing a short-sleeved shirt when The Times spoke to him. He shivered in the winter-afternoon breeze.  His only sources of warmth are a fire, which other street children gather around, and a threadbare blanket he shares with a younger friend.  “It is painful living here. I just want a place to stay and I would love to go back to school,” he said.  But Vusi can’t go home.

“My father died when I was still very small and I don’t know the rest of my family because they don’t like my mother ... she drinks a lot. So I have to go out and beg for money to get something to eat,” he said.

The child-rights organisation South African Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 60000 children live on South Africa’s streets. According to its statistics, about 1000 children are murdered in South Africa every year, 24000 child sexual abuse cases are reported annually and 1500 children disappear.  Like Vusi, many youths are not reflected in these figures because they are not reported missing and are not registered with a shelter.

Prostituted girls’ parents not found

Nivashni Nair, Jun 18, 2008

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Their parents did not try to find them and it seems the only person who wanted them was the pimp who sold them.  Durban police have not found the parents of two girls, aged between eight and 12, whom they rescued two weeks ago. A man had allegedly been selling them on the city’s notorious Mahatma Gandhi Road (formerly Point Road) for sex.

The girls lived on the streets and the police have not established where they come from.  They are being cared for at a safe house but, according to those who assist street children, the likelihood of the girls returning to the streets is high.

“Right now, these two little girls do not realise that they have been saved — they feel like they are being punished. One has to understand the mentality of a street child to understand why they run away,” he said.

“I am almost certain that these girls are missing the friends they bonded with on the streets and they also miss the money they were getting from the pimp.” sccp

Biko's lessons for today

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, June 2 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Bulelwa Hewitt said the one redeeming feature of her former life on the streets was the spirit of caring she experienced among the other children.  "We shared the little we had, and showed ubuntu. Street children have lost everything else, but they cling to that vital bond. When one of them is sick, the others nurture that child."

A brief, brutal existence

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, May 29 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

SCORN - "Zodwa* fled to the streets of Durban because her mother sold her to a stranger for sex. She was nine years old. Two years later, she tested positive for HIV.   "Over the years she has learned to survive through prostitution and the support of fellow group members," Hewitt explained of another street girl.  "She learned to sniff glue very early on to smother fear and physical pain. She lives on a corner near the harbour with the members of her group. Truck drivers stop at night and beckon her and her friends to their vehicles.   "For Zodwa, 'work' involves performing sexual acts on truck drivers and local men, letting them penetrate her fragile body. If you ask her about this 'work' she is ashamed. She sees herself as the dirty one.  "Sometimes she gets really sick. She rolls herself into a ball under a pile of old clothes and cardboard on the street corner, shutting the world out for days on end. She gets thin. Sleep is an escape. She is bright and informed. She knows exactly what happens when you have full-blown Aids. She waits, just her and her glue bottle."

Hope is something to live for

By Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, May 21 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Commander*, 15, followed his elder brother on to the streets a number of years ago. He wants to return home, but the pull of the streets is strong. He expressed doubt that he would be able to be reintegrated into his community.  "The streets are no good, though. There is no respect and you cannot learn," he said.  "Many of the children sniff glue to take away stress, but it hurts our legs and knees. It's not easy to quickly leave glue because it is in our blood.

"It is dangerous for other children to come to the streets, but they are always running away from something. Some run because their mothers are not interested in them. That is my story. I have hope. One day I will go home. One day I will go to school again. Yes, I will go to school!"

Fuelled by the desire to make a difference

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, May 23 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

The loss of family to HIV and Aids, poverty and abuse are some of the reasons children end up on city streets. Mellis related a recent incident that brought her to tears.  "It was pouring with rain and I found a small boy huddled in a doorway. His face wasn't familiar, so I stopped to question him.   "He said he was 13 years old and came from Umlazi. Both his parents had died, followed by the aunt who was caring for him. He had no one left in the world."

Putting street kids' needs first

Vivien Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, May 22 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

SKEWED - "Readers need to examine the issues of why the children come to the city, and what happens to them on the streets. The popular misconception is that: 'Kids like it on the streets'. In our experience they always run from something. There is always a 'push factor'.

"Umthombo sees reintegration as the only viable future for street children. The organisation provides both temporary support and long-term assistance to help former street children find new families or mend fractured family relationships. Their new environment is regularly monitored to make sure it is conducive to healthy childhood development.

"When the government subsidy dries up as a child turns 18, he or she has no option but to return to street life. If they had been reintegrated into communities instead, they would have a greater sense of purpose and belonging."

From scavenger to survivor

Vivian Attwood, Independent Online (IOL) News, May 20 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

DISCARDED LIVES - The children's activist was born into a community with little hope for the future, beyond finding the next drink or cigarette. Her mother and step-father lived in a makeshift shack on the edge of the East London municipal waste dump.  Bulelwa and her two younger siblings, Nosiphiwe and Bulelani, spent their days scouring the dump for anything that could be eaten or sold. Their mother kept them out of school for that purpose.

"We moved like that, back and forth. There were people on the street living under plastic bags and in small boxes like dog kennels. Other kids from the squatter camp joined us. We became like a family unit and looked out for one another."

"Life on the streets wasn't really better than on the dump, but there was more chance of finding food," she said.  "At night when the restaurants closed we would wait to grab the food they threw away. We also begged for money and then we either bought food or benzine or thinners to sniff.  "It made me see strange things, like snakes coming out of the sea, but I wasn't scared. It sent me into a world of my own, and helped block out the past. It took away my hunger and made me bolder."  Bulelwa and her siblings were headed down a one-way road. Malnourished and substance addicted, they were bound to contract disease and die young. A fellow street child, an older youth, had been observing the little band, and intervened.

Inside South Africa's townships

Martin Wroe, The Sunday Times, March 2, 2008

[accessed 15 October 2012]

A group of 25 young people, mainly boys, with maybe four teenage girls, is huddled against the long wall of a cheap hotel on a downtown Durban side street. Old chairs and abandoned crates comprise their makeshift furniture, ragged blankets and stained sleeping bags their only warmth. A few sniff glue from plastic bottles. A sign hanging above them reads: “Daily accommodation, open 24 hours.”

“I did go home once,” explains Tabiso, who was 14 when his mother told him she couldn’t afford to keep him. “But there was no place for me, so I came back, because all my friends are here now.” Not quite all of them. Some have died, victims of HIV/Aids or casual violence, but Tabiso is putting his hope in the person leading our unusual summer holiday from the UK.  “Tom,” he says confidently, “is going to teach me to surf, and that will be the job that will get me off the streets.”

Police raped us - street kids

Carvin Goldstone, Independent Online (IOL) News, March 8 2008

[accessed 22 July 2011]

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Street children living near Albert Park allege that two of the girls who have been living on the perimeter of the park were raped by members of the Durban Metro Police - and one of them is now missing.  According to careworker Sipho Nyaka, whose NGO, World Back to God, helps look after street children, he has seen police officers arresting street children and found girls stripped naked and handcuffed on more than one occasion.

The other one who said she was also raped was still with the group of street children in the park on Friday.  However, a teenage boy who was arrested a few weeks ago has allegedly been missing since his arrest.

Durban policemen accused of abusing street kids

South African Broadcasting Corporation SABC News, February 23, 2008,2172,164692,00.html

[accessed 2 October 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

A Durban organisation helping street children has called for harsh action against members of the Ethekwini Metro police who allegedly sexually assaulted children living in Albert Park.

It‘s easier for street kids to beg than to go to school

Shaanaaz de Jager, January 8, 2008

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Maranatha homeless shelter director Trudi Basson finds that in most interviews with street children they will lie about their schooling.  “They will say they‘ve reached Grade 4, but after educational tests you‘ll find that the child only reached Grade 2 or has been out of school so long that those missed years are a big gap in their schooling.”  Basson said smaller children were often used by bigger ones to earn an income by begging on the streets. This was because the older ones usually could not earn an income themselves.  “They most probably can‘t find work because they are illiterate as well,” Basson said. “You‘ll find that sometimes the little ones are victimised and forced to stand on the street and beg. Some younger children are also on drugs.

“They don‘t see going to school as a solution. After all, why must they go to school if they can get money on the street right now? And, unfortunately, drugs are also available. Going to school is not an instant solution to their problem. It doesn‘t solve poverty at home.”

 “You often find children who don‘t have school shoes do not want to go to school. They are too shy to go to school barefoot.” Instead, some of these children grow up illiterate and are forced to help support their families.

South Africa: Ethekwini City Manager Extends Good Wishes

BuaNews (Tshwane), eThekwini, 13 December 2007

[accessed 19 January 2017]

The city manager said these children continue to resist all attempts to provide them with support, despite the city's best efforts.  "Businesses and many residents continue to ask me to clear them away and whilst we do provide as much social welfare support we can, they keep coming back."

Around the same time a group of residents had been evicted onto the street.  "It was late in the day and one of the terrible storms was pelting down on us. One person died and we were approached to provide tents to shelter these truly poor people.  "We did so, even though as a very short term measure but the surrounding residents did not see it that way and criticised us."

On Wednesday night, said Mr Sutcliffe, one of the city's stormwater drains burst and over 50 shacks were washed away.  "We urgently put up a tent in a park and will provide sanitation on a temporary basis.  "We will, through our housing and other programmes, eventually ensure everyone has access to sanitation and shelter, but we cannot do that overnight. We are trying to be a caring city, but also recognise that has unintended consequences."

Granny forgives petrol killer

Tania Broughton, Independent Online (IOL) News, December 12 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

"I can also take judicial notice of the fact that the deceased were street children.  "I have personally dealt with cases in this court where street children have committed crimes such as robbery and murder," he said, referring to a specific case in which a family living in their car on the beachfront were attacked by street children and the father was shot and killed.  While that crime had been far more serious than the theft of a bicycle, "it is an indication of what street children can do", the judge said.

Street children sentenced for stabbing jockey to death

Legalbrief Today, (Category: In Court, Issue No: 1968), 04 December 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

[accessed 19 January 2017]

All four, aged between 16 and 19, pleaded guilty in the Port Elizabeth New Law Court to murdering Boutell for his cellphone, wallet and a pair of shoes.

Street rescue

Canaan Mdletshe, Sowetan, 04 December 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 July 2011]

The MEC for social development in KwaZulu-Natal, Meshack Hadebe, has opened his door to prostitutes.  Hadebe said this after his unprecedented meeting at the weekend with about 3000 ladies of the night and street children to discuss their future.  Speaking to Sowetan after the meeting in Pietermaritzburg, Hadebe said he was impressed with the turnout and the positive response.  Hadebe said as government they want to help them restore their dignity and start living a prosperous life.  “We encouraged them to start their own businesses and we will fund them.

Knock on our doors, says MEC

Sibusiso Mboto, Independent Online (IOL) News, December 3 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Prostitutes and street children wishing to change their lives for the better need only approach the social development department, MEC Meshack Radebe said last week.  Addressing a function in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, Radebe said there were many opportunities for the children and prostitutes to improve their lives.  Recently, the Provincial social development department received a R24-million windfall from its national counterpart.

Alleged child trafficker walks free

Raffaella Delle Donne, Independent Online (IOL) News, December 1 2007 at 01:09pm

[accessed 23 December 2010]

Lured by promises of work and a new life in the big city, children as young as 13 are being brought to Cape Town from rural towns to work on fruit and flower stalls.  When they are not working, these children are prisoners in a Wendy house in the back garden of their employer. They are fed, but rarely paid.  Many run away and, alone in a strange city, take to the streets to join Cape Town's brigade of street children. htsc

Where are Durban's street children?

Sharlene Packree and Heinz de Boer, Independent Online (IOL) News, November 22 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Durban's usually bustling street child colonies have all but disappeared from the city after what is believed to be a major police crackdown ahead of this week's Fifa preliminary draw.  City officials remain at odds over the fate of dozens of children, who are believed to have been rounded up by SAPS and Metro Police units before being taken to Westville Prison.  Social workers say this happened after the children and some adults with small children were charged for loitering and given fines they cannot afford. Some may spend up to 90 days behind bars.

Kids ‘primed for sex jobs’

Aly Verbaan, City Vision, 01 November 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 July 2011]

Cape Town already has a reputation as a child sex destination and with an estimated 10 million foreigners expected to visit the country in three years’ time, those who work with street children are increasingly concerned.

Compounding the problem for street children is that the general public is mostly apathetic and unmoved by their plight.  The children themselves are so hardened by life on the streets that they can be impossible to work with, even for those trained in the field.  An independent researcher has commented in her reports that their “dislikeableness” contributes to offenders feeling justified in their abuse of the children, who are often seen as seen as dangerous criminals rather than victims.

'Angel of Soweto' case thrown out

BBC News, 9 October 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

VICTORY DANCE - Known to her pupils as "Mama Jackey", the Ithuteng Trust school principal had been celebrated for providing shelter and an education to thousands of traumatised and destitute children.  Their harrowing tales drew donations of millions of dollars from luminaries such as Mr Mandela and US TV chat show host Oprah Winfrey.  But a South African TV documentary, Carte Blanche, a year ago revealed claims that Ms Maarohanye pressured pupils into reciting fabricated tales of murdered parents, rape and destitution.

The programme also alleged that some donations had "gone astray" while children at the school were going hungry.  Subsequently newspaper reporters said they found it difficult to get pupils and staff at the school in Klipspruit - in Soweto township near Johannesburg - to speak about the allegations, because they said they were terrified of "Mama".

Help TUT students to help street children

Yolande Kortjass, Equilibrium Incorporated, 17 Sep 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

We are a group of students from the public relations, business communication and international communications department. Itumeleng Shelter is a shelter that only takes care of boys. It can currently only take care of 18 boys ranging from 0-18 years of age.  The main purpose of the shelter is to rehabilitate the boys and place them back with their families. The shelter also provides services to male drop-ins, who do not live at the shelter but are being helped with food, clean clothes and therapy.  The shelter is a two-bedroomed house, with nine boys sharing a room. They are in need of food, clothes, computers, renovations of building, school uniforms, bedding and blankets.

Performance theatre as empowermentUsing energy of street at Grahamstown

Candice Jansen, Cape Times (South Africa), July 5, 2007

[partially accessed 21 July 2011 - access restricted]

One such initiative is the Art of the Street Project (ASP), which trains and cultivates drama talent using street children from the Eluxolweni Shelter in Grahamstown.  Since 2003, it has provided an outlet of positive self- expression for these youth.  Run by UBOM!, an Eastern Cape drama company, every year it stages a street theatre production for the festival, based on members' life stories and experiences.

Streetwise kids foil jailbreak

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld, Pretoria, 20/06/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 July 2011]

The man was very casual and after following him for a short distance Hofmeyr stopped next to him and told the boys to grab him.  "He resisted, but these are street children: they softened him up a bit."  The boys climbed back in with their new passenger and returned him to the prison.

The boys, who range in age from 12 to 18, said they were a bit apprehensive of the escapee.  Apparently he did not say much.  Aletta Dreyer of the Crossroad Shelter said the children were all there because they wanted to achieve something in life.

Muizenberg drug problems running high

Ciska Verster, 19 June 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Gang bosses have also been making optimum use of street children, who police cannot fully prosecute.  "These children are acting as 'high-risk' drug runners between False Bay College students and Village drug-dealers - a problem police can do very little about," Allan Dillon says.

As Director Hagen admits, children caught for crimes can only be held for a maximum of 24-hours by police, after which they are absorbed back into the Social Welfare system. "They are mostly released back into their parents' custody - who cannot control them - as there just aren't enough places of safety to hold them. We find ourselves continuously re-arresting the same children."

Muizenberg might soon see a "drop-in centre" for street children established in conjunction with The Homestead Shelter in Cape Town, says MID board member Joanne Hichens.  "The primary purpose of the centre will be to get children into some sort of stable residential care, but failing this, the centre should at least be a means of keeping track of the children's movements and behaviour. This information will be shared with the relevant authorities," Hichens says.

Painful rejection as street kids try to make their way back

Tabelo Timse, June 20, 2007

[accessed 5 January 2017]

Former street children trying to turn their lives around are finding it difficult to enter schools because they are either far behind in their grades or have never even been to school.  Maranatha Streetworkers Trust director Trudi Basson said children who had lived on the street were often rejected because they were far behind or too old to start.  She said the trust had developed a gap-year programme for the children to follow before going to mainstream schools as otherwise they tended not to cope. The programme included home schooling with the help of volunteers.  Children as old as 13 had never been to school and sometimes they did not even have birth certificates, so the trust volunteers had to estimate their ages, said Basson.

Wave of homeless youths overwhelming Joburg

Jeremy Gordin, Independent Online (IOL) News, June 17 2007

[accessed 22 July 2011]

A good night's sleep is also hard to come by.  Three different groups of street children - one from Hillbrow, the second from the Joubert Park area, and another group of girls from End Street - said that Metro police habitually set their blankets on fire, apparently as a means of forcing them off the streets and into shelters.

"Sometimes the policemen laugh; they think it's a big joke," said one boy.  Social workers, outreach workers and staff at the shelters do not doubt such stories.  Mildred Mhlanga, of Johannesburg Child Welfare's Thembalethu Project, said that a number of girls from the project had watched as Metro police lifted their blankets from the rubbish bins where they were stored and set them alight.



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