While South Africa’s health authorities are ramping up the country’s vaccination programme to contain the spread of the coronavirus, some vulnerable sections of communities seem to have been forgotten.

In Klerksdorp in the North West, life for many homeless youths has become a daily struggle since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.

Street Dweller Johannes Mohlomi says lack of opportunities has landed them to where they are currently.

“We live like this today in this condition whereby some of us had no choice. No one is able to put out food on the table at home and some of us dropped out of school because of hunger, lack of opportunities like job opportunities.”

Mohlomi and his brother Victor Majola have been on the streets for years. Both are reformed SVK gang members.

They say they were forced to leave home at Kanana township in Orkney, to be closer to job opportunities in Klerksdorp.

Majola says, “There are some of us whose homes were destroyed when we went to prison and we come back to find nothing when we are released from prison. We are not here because we don’t have homes. We are forced to come hustle here. And because Kanana is far from Klerksdorp we decided to just stay here.”

While South Africa’s vaccination roll-out has been gathering momentum, Mohlomi says on the streets, they have been neglected and are largely on their own.

“I only hear that corona vaccination has arrived. But I only get sanitized when I go to the shops. At home, I can’t sanitize myself. That is why. There is no one who is coming here encouraging us to go to the hospital or to the clinics to test for the coronavirus.”

While the country is focussed on combating the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, these homeless street dwellers seem to be forgotten.

But all that matters to them is how and where their next meal will come from.