Volunteers sleep on the street to help the homeless

Twenty volunteers spend a Night on the Streets. Picture: Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers

Twenty volunteers spend a Night on the Streets. Picture: Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers

Published May 20, 2024


Cape Town - Twenty volunteers traded their warm beds and the safety of their homes for a Night on the Streets, in aid of raising R1 million for the work done by U-turn Homeless Ministries.

As homelessness continues to grow in South Africa, it’s no secret that the coming winter will be harsh on those who have no shelter and have to sleep on the streets.

In a bid to shed light on this burning issue, U-turn Homeless Ministries, Independent Media and BMW joined forces and launched the campaign to raise money to support U-turn’s work.

On Saturday night, each person was given a cardboard box and a sleeping bag, some armed with pillows and an extra blanket, while others braced the cold hard ground along Claremont Main Road without a pillow or extra warmth.

At about 10pm, the volunteers, made up of business owners, politicians, clients of BMW, Independent Media and U-turn staff, each got their allocated spot on the ground as all lined up to lie next to the other.

By midnight, the temperatures started to drop, and some could be heard nervously saying their sleeping bag was starting to feel damp, but nobody was about to give up the mission.

Shinaaz Hendricks. Picture: Venecia Valentine

The weather remained cool throughout the night as volunteers barely got up for toilet breaks.

Chief communications officer at U-turn, Valerie Govender, said: “Our Night on the Streets campaign was a resounding success.

“Not only did we raise an incredible amount of funds to support our work, we created an opportunity for people across the world (through our virtual event) to experience homelessness in a very real way.

“The response via social media has been phenomenal, with many sending us photos of them sleeping outside their homes.

“We are so honoured to have had BMW Constantia and Independent Media Group walk alongside us for this event. Please watch out for A Night on the Streets 2025.”

Crezane Bosch, Gauteng MPL, flew in to Cape Town just to take part in the campaign.

Crezane Bosch. Picture: Venecia Valentine

“It was an eye-opener, giving me a different perspective, placing myself in the shoes of the homeless. It will definitely assist us going forward from a government perspective as to how to approach homelessness.”

Matthew James from SMG BMW announced that R560 000 was raised through cash donations for the campaign.