Michel Bega
Multimedia Editor
4 minute read
9 May 2020
6:05 am

VIDEO: Coming out stronger on the other side of a pandemic

Michel Bega

A group of 'displaced people' at a lockdown shelter in Jeppestown see this period as an opportunity to reset their lives. Our photographer spent some time at the shelter and spoke to a recovering drug addict using this time for introspection and charting a plan for his future.

Recovering addict Themba Qalani, from Thokoza, has been using drugs since he was 15, and living on the streets since he was 18. He has taken on a leadership role at the Bertha Solomons displaced persons shelter as he attempts to use the lockdown to come clean of his addiction. Pictures: Michel Bega

In his past Themba Qalani used to hijack cars and mug people to feed his cocaine and heroin addiction. An addict for half of his life, on March 27, the first day of the country's lockdown, he had his last fix. As the coronavirus pandemic swept into SA, Qalani was living on the streets in Braamfontein. Considered as a displaced person by the city, the 30-year-old was relocated with an initial group of 600 people to a temporary shelter at the Bertha Solomons Recreation Centre in Jeppestown. Here, he made a choice to get clean. "Covid-19 is a bad disease...