Living with a disability, being unemployed and expecting a baby while you and your partner don’t have a home are enough to destroy any relationship. While it’s essentially hard for the seed of love to bloom under such dire conditions, some relationships crumble for reasons such as different interests or growing apart.
Jane Koekemoer, affectionately known as JJ and his girlfriend are still deeply in love even though they don’t have any place to call home. There are days when they have to watch the sun go down without knowing what their next meal would be. They mainly survive by begging at intersections for money and food, as they are both unemployed. Koekemoer is a paraplegic. His sad tale of misery and suffering started when he was severely assaulted by a policeman and ended up in Frere hospital in East London.
“I was admitted for months and I sustained injuries to the spine. When I tried to open a case against the policeman, I was told that my docket was missing. So, I had to open a new docket. I did that about three times, then I just gave up because I was tired of always being told to do the same thing over and over again,” he said.
Then he relocated to Port Elizabeth where he worked as a car guard at Food Lovers. However, as fate would have it, Koekemoer was attacked by 3 criminals who were trying to steal a car. “We got into an argument and they pushed me to the ground and I sustained injuries to the wrist and again I was admitted to hospital, so that is how I got disabled,” he recalled.
Prior to being harmed, Koekemoer said he was married with four kids. After a turbulent marriage with his wife, they decided to go their separate ways.
“Then I met a very good and loving girl who loved me for who and what I am. I met her while we were working as car guards, but at the time she was involved with somebody else. The guy she wasinvolved with was very abusive and he would often beat her to a pulp,” he says. While in the past an abusive relationship might have been “good enough” to stay in it for his girlfriend, she found a much higher level of emotional and personal self-fulfillment in Koekemoer. “So, she decided to leave him and that is when we started to pursue our relationship. We have been together ever since and we are expecting a baby. We are staying on the streets because we both don’t have a place to stay,” he says.
•I am praying that someone hear our story and provide us with shelter so that my baby is born into a warm and safe house.
•I am praying to get an identity document that can assist me to provide for my family.
•Ifanyone can assist me with a wheelchair to use that will enable me to move around more easily.
•Lastly, if we can have food parcels to help us that would be highly appreciated.
KOEKEMOER LISTS HIS CHALLENGES:
•We don’t have a place to stay, we are staying in the streets.
•For us to have food we have to stand at robots and ask for hand-outs and sometimes we would go for a day without food because we didn’t get money at the robots.
•We fight with police officers every night because they are always chasing us during the night.
•My girlfriend was almost raped because we don’t have a safe place to stay.
•I have a challenge with my wheelchair because it was hand-made and now I cannot sit properly on it, it is bending my wrist and hurting it.
•I am not getting my disability grant because every time I tried to apply for it I was told to bring the original folder which disappeared from the hospital, this made things hard for me to be able to get a disability grant.
•I don’t have an identity document because my wife took it with her when we separated.