A 29-year-old Johannesburg woman is determined to help a homeless man build a new home, after he saved her from being attacked
To date, she has raised just over R16 500, and hopes to reach a target of R50 000 to build a Wendy house and buy furniture for “Oupa”, who charged at three men who had attempted to rob Zanele Masule in a park in Malvern East in Germiston on 5 June, scaring them off with his walking stick.
In a Facebook post, Masule wrote: “I was walking home through the park from the shops and a car stopped and three guys came running towards me, one with a gun. I knew right there, I was screwed.
“I then heard a lot of voetseks and f-yous and I was ready to hand them my life. Only to find that it’s this man… (Oupa), limping and walking as fast as he can to scare off these thugs with his walking stick.
“The guys ran back and left me and Oupa standing there. I was in tears as I always see Oupa picking up papers and swearing continuously. (I think he has Tourette’s).
“He is a gentle soul and he stays on the streets in Malvern East. I could only thank him with the little that I had, which was R50 and some coins.
“He left all his boxes and his one blanket to help me, an absolute stranger. He is very old and has no immediate family left. Very smart with a vulgar mouth. But a guardian angel for all those that walk through the dangerous park.”
‘No clothes or food’
Masule said Oupa had no clothes or food.
She wrote that she and her husband had gone back to the park to find Oupa to give him some money and spend some time with him.
During their visit, Oupa told her to scream out to him in future should she be in trouble.
“We need more heroes like this,” Masule said. “I’m still shaking as I write this. And that’s out of shock. I can’t imagine him shaking during the cold nights, yet still very ready to attack any thug with a mere walking stick.”
Masule then decided to start a Backabuddy crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to build Oupa a Wendy house.
“He will need a bit of furniture: bed, couch, utensils, etc. Clothes, as he has none and also money so he can get regular medical care and food.
“He will finally have a place to rest his head, warmth, a home to retire in. He can have his health taken care of and food. No more begging as he has Tourette’s and that’s already a problem for him in the streets, as people tend to take advantage of him,” Masule wrote.
To her surprise, donations started pouring in.
“I can’t believe this post received so much recognition, I wasn’t even expecting more than 20 people to view this,” she said. “So many people are already helping. A few have said they will be going to Oupa today to help him with blankets, clothes and food. Thank you everyone. I am overwhelmed.”
In addition to the crowdfunding campaign, Masule opened a TymeBank account for Oupa and invited people to donate money.