Homeless make light work of repairing their refuge

Melvyn Adams,36,busy customising sneakers at the Daku Hall
Melvyn Adams,36,busy customising sneakers at the Daku Hall
Image: Werner Hills

Homeless people skilled as electricians, plumbers and even shoemakers have been cooped up in Daku Hall in Kwazakhele but remain eager to ply their trades, so much so they have undertaken work both on and in the hall while under lockdown.

While they occupy one of the facilities availed by the municipality to house the homeless during the lockdown they continue to work for next to nothing, as their desire to keep occupied outweighs their need for money.

Zwide-born Malvin Adams, 36, said he had been repairing shoes for as long as he could remember, ever since his older brother taught him the art as a young boy.

“I think I was about nine years old when I could really repair a shoe.

“I can repair old soles, whether they are torn or worn out. I really love playing around with shoes,” Adams said.

Over the years Adams, has taught himself to how to do little add-ons to sneakers.

“I also add leather artworks for whoever wants to make their shoes unique.

“This is how I make money, and while I haven't had much business during the lockdown I still enjoy repairing people’s shoes [those living temporarily at Daku Hall] when and where I can for the little people can give me,” Adams said, adding that he understood that people had no money.

In-house handyman Christo Vermaak said he was more than happy to help in maintaining the hall that had been their home for the past 49 days.

The 25-year-old, who recently fixed the community hall’s television, had a list of things to fix around the hall during his stay.

“I can fix televisions and microwaves, it’s a hobby of mine that I developed over the past five years,” Vermaak said.

The 25-year-old, who is self- taught, said he decided to fix one of the two television sets at the hall so that they could watch TV to pass the time.

“The TV wouldn’t switch on because of a fuse that had burnt out. I managed to get the things I need to fix the TV and now we are able to watch the news or anything we want,” he said.

Vermaak said he was planning to fix the second TV screen as well as the community hall’s freezer.