“It was a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time that landed me in prison and ultimately on the streets”, Tsolo-born Ndondebandla Klaas 42 said, explaining how a charge of rape changed his life forever.
“I was drinking with some friends in Motherwell NU29 and there were some teenagers around, the girl was 16 years old and not even at the party with me, but I was the scapegoat.”
“Two days after the party police arrived at my place and I was arrested. The trial went on for about two years and I was found not guilty after one year and eight months in St Alban’s prison,” Klaas said.
He said after his releasehe felt out of place in society with no family in the Bay he ended up on the streets of Central.
“I had gotten comfortable inside and now I was out, with no money to go back home, no food I felt exposed and scared. I even missed it [prison] a little but I would never go back, it is too hard,” Klaas said.
Before his arrest Klaas worked as a construction worker for an RDP housing project in Motherwell NU12 however that was the last time he had a job as his past keeps holding him back.
To survive on the streets in he does odd jobs that earn him about R60 a day but he never begs.
“I am too shy to go around asking people for money, I only take it when someone offers.
Klaas said the one thing he misses about having a house is a comfortable bed.
“I do not remember the last time I had a good night’s rest, we don’t sleep out here because you might get robbed or wake up with all your clothes gone.”
He added that he wants to go back home to Tsolo but he is too ashamed to show up empty handed.